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H1B visa lottery bids dramatically plummet in the U.S. amid crackdown on fraud and abuse

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The United States has witnessed a significant decline in applications for skilled-worker visa lotteries following the implementation of stringent measures aimed at preventing fraud and abuse. According to a recent report by AP, lottery bids have plummeted by 40% this year. Authorities have hailed this development as a ‘great success’ in combating those who exploit the system.

H1B visa lottery bids dramatically plummet in the U.S. amid crackdown on fraud and abuse(HT_PRINT)

Skilled-worker visa lottery applications drop in the U.S

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on X (formerly Twitter) that for the Fiscal Year 2025 H-1B cap petitions, random selections have been made and notifications are being sent to myUSCIS accounts starting yesterday and continuing over the next few days before April 1.

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On Tuesday, the government announced that it had received 470,342 entries in the final week of March for this year’s lottery, a decrease of 38% compared to last year’s total of 758,994 as reported by AP. The number of individuals who applied to work in the U.S. however remained close, with about 442,000 applicants this year compared to 446,000 last year.

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This “indicates that there were far fewer attempts to gain an unfair advantage than in prior years,” USCIS said in a note addressing the companies who earlier called for reforms after a spike in applications left current employees and prospective employees competing in a lottery with little chance of success.

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Sensing the potential for fraud, U.S immigration officials implemented new rules earlier this year that limit each worker to one visa application, regardless of how many job offers they receive. Remarkably, over 400,000 of the 759,000 registrations that were filed the previous year were duplicates.

The changes in the visa application process occurred after the government switched from requiring bulky paperwork to a $10 online registration fee. This change led to a drastic increase in applications from 2021 to 2023, with the number tripling. The new system allowed applicants to easily apply for multiple job roles, which ended up overwhelming both the industry and the government. For instance, in 2022, one person submitted bids for 83 different job offers.

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It is worth noting that in the last few years, nearly 70% of all 85,000 available H1B visa slots, including 20,000 in the master’s quota for advanced US degree holders, have been allocated to Indian technology workers, thus making them the largest visa category under the cap-subject H1B visa category.

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