U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Friday that it received 780,884 total registrations for this year’s H-1B lottery — a figure that shatters last year’s previous record of 483,927.

The agency attributed the dramatic rise in part to a large increase in the number of registrations submitted on behalf of beneficiaries with multiple registrations. USCIS distributed this chart, showing registration and selection numbers for fiscal years 2021-2024 (as of April 24, 2023).

Fiscal Year Total Registrations Eligible Registrations*            Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries With No Other Eligible Registrations            Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries With Multiple Eligible Registrations            Selections**
2021 274,237 269,424 241,299 28,125 124,415
2022 308,613 301,447 211,304 90,143 131,924
2023 483,927 474,421 309,241 165,180 127,600
2024 780,884 758,994 350,103 408,891 110,791

*The count of eligible registrations excludes duplicate registrations, those deleted by the prospective employer prior to the close of the registration period, and those with failed payments.

**USCIS said the number of selections was smaller in FY 2024 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.

Beneficiaries With Multiple Registrations

The annual quota for cap-subject H-1B visas is 85,000, of which 20,000 are exclusively for U.S. advanced degree holders.

In its announcement, USCIS stated that the significant increase in the number of eligible registrations for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations raises “serious concerns that some may have tried to gain an unfair advantage by working together to submit multiple registrations on behalf of the same beneficiary.”

The agency said it has already “undertaken extensive fraud investigations” this year, would continue its investigations and may refer individuals or entities who submitted false attestations to “the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for investigation and further action, as appropriate.”

USCIS also provided a reminder that the agency is working on a proposed rule to “modernize” H-1B requirements and oversight, including the registration process.

BAL Analysis: The 780,884 total registrations marked a 61.4% increase over the 483,927 from last year. The increase demonstrates the ongoing popularity of the H-1B program and the high demand for the limited annual number of visas. Employers are encouraged to work with their BAL attorney to consider alternatives for registrations that were not selected in March’s lottery.

The impact of USCIS’ investigation into potential fraud on this year’s selection or the possibility of a second lottery remains to be seen. BAL will continue to monitor the issue and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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