On April 28, 2023, USCIS announced and reiterated that it has received a sufficient number of electronic registrations to reach the statutory 65,000 H-1B visa bachelor’s “regular” cap and the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption for fiscal year (FY) 2024.
In addition to this announcement, USCIS has provided the following overview of the electronic registration process and updates in the FY 2024 initial H-1B registration, and cautions petitioners against fraud and misuse of the registration system:
USCIS implemented its current H-1B electronic registration process in 2020 for the FY 2021 H-1B lottery. Prior to the implementation of the electronic registration, petitioning employers were required to prepare and file complete H-1B petitions during a five-day filing period, after which USCIS would conduct its random selection process. Unselected petitions were returned.
The H-1B electronic registration process now allows petitioners to register beneficiaries online by providing general biographic data and eligibility criteria over a three-week period. Following the registration period, USCIS conducts its electronic selection. This has streamlined processing, reduced paperwork and data exchange, and has ultimately led to reduced costs for petitioners.
FY 2024 Overview:
USCIS has confirmed that it saw significant increases in the number of registrations submitted for FY 2024 compared to the registration numbers in prior years. USCIS has stated that it “saw an increase in the number of registrations submitted, the number of registrations submitted on behalf of beneficiaries with multiple registrations, and the number of registrations submitted on behalf of unique beneficiaries with only one registration.”
Registration and Selection Numbers for FY 2021 – 2024:
USCIS provided the following chart comparing registration and selection numbers for FY 2021 – 2024:
|Cap Fiscal Year||Total Registrations||Eligible Registrations*||Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries with No Other Eligible Registrations||Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries with Multiple Eligible Registrations||Selections**|
**The number of selections was smaller in FY24 than in prior years primarily due to (a) establishing a higher anticipated petition filing rate by selected registrants based on prior years; and (b) higher projected Department of State approvals of H-1B1 visas, which count against the H-1B cap.
As evidenced by the chart, the number of electronic registrations has more than doubled since the implementation of the H-1B electronic registration process in 2020. In particular, the rise in the number of registrations for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations raises concerns of unfair practice and potential abuse of the system (i.e., multiple petitioners attempting to gain unfair advantage by colluding to submit several registrations for the same beneficiary).
USCIS has restated its commitment to deterring and preventing fraud and abuse of the registration process and, in doing so, it reminds petitioning employers and practitioners that, at the time that every registration is submitted, petitioners are required to sign an attestation, under penalty of perjury, that:
(a) All of the information contained in the registration submission is complete, true, and correct;
(b) the registration(s) reflect a legitimate job offer; and
(c) The registrant, or the organization on whose behalf the registration(s) is being submitted, has not worked with, or agreed to work with, another registrant, petitioner, agent, or other individual or entity to submit a registration to unfairly increase chances of selection for the beneficiary or beneficiaries in this submission.
USCIS reserves the right to find that registrations are not properly submitted, forbid prospective petitioners from filing petitions for improperly submitted registrations, deny petitions or revoke petition approvals if it finds that the initial registration attestation is not true and correct.
In response to the significant registration numbers for FY 2024, USCIS has conducted fraud investigations, denied, and revoked petitions and is in the process of involving law enforcement for criminal prosecution. If fraud is established, the registrations won by those companies will be revoked and a second selection will be held for FY 2024.
Finally, USCIS intends to roll out a modernization rule to bolster the H-1B registration process to reduce the risk of misuse and fraud in future years.
Please contact any member of the Dentons Immigration team if you have any questions regarding the above.