President Biden is considering changes to the H-1B lottery system in response to a significant increase in visa registrations this year. Tech organizations are influencing the proposed changes to address issues stemming from overwhelming registration numbers and suspected fraud.
The current H-1B lottery registration system allows multiple employers to submit registrations for the same candidate, resulting in duplicate entries. The proposed plan, suggested by tech immigration groups and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), recommends running the lottery based on individual beneficiaries rather than registrations. This means candidates with multiple sponsors would have an equal chance of winning as those with a single sponsor.
Under the proposed plan, selected candidates with multiple sponsors could choose their preferred employer, who would then file the H-1B petition. Tech groups supporting this idea include Compete America coalition, TechNet, and the Information Technology Industry Council, representing major tech companies.
While reforming the lottery system is part of the White House’s broader H-1B modernization plan, there are skeptics, including former U.S. Rep. Bruce Morrison, who emphasize the need for tougher enforcement against fraudulent multiple registrations.
The U.S. must seek public input on any new rules and finalize them by early next year to be ready for the next H-1B lottery cycle. Despite this year’s surge in registrations, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had to select additional registrations to meet the annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas.
The USCIS’s response to the high registration volume, including warnings against fraud, may have contributed to eliminating duplicative entries and reducing interest from some employers.