by Rahul Reddy & Emily Neumann, Attorneys at Law
In FY 2015, USCIS received 172,500 H-1B petitions, but there were only 85,000 visas (approximately, with minor exceptions). So, how did they decide who would receive a visa? by lottery.
All petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. Master’s degrees went through a lottery first to select the 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption. Any Masters cases not selected then went into the regular quota. A second lottery was done to select the remaining 65,000.
Due to the way the lottery is conducted, Masters applicants generally have a better chance since they get two shots at the lottery. Many applicants, however, were hoping to improve their chances even more by obtaining job offers from more than one company and filing multiple H-1B petitions. While many applicants may have legitimately had multiple job offers, many others did not, but filed anyways. Some applicants thought they had legitimate job offers, others knew they were not, but were under so much pressure to make it through lottery that they went ahead with it.
Perhaps people have short memories or just aren’t aware of the arrests that occurred in previous years for H-1B visa fraud. Before you are tempted to do something sketchy to increase your chances, take a look at some of these headlines:
U.S. Officials in Texas Arrest Six on Charges of H-1B Visa Fraud
Counterfeit H-1B job offers nets six months in jail - Businessman admits submitting H-1B applications with counterfeit job offer letters from Gap, Wells Fargo and Genentech
Bay Area businessman charged with high-tech worker visa fraud
Pennsylvania residents ordered to forfeit nearly $2 million in visa fraud scheme
Indian national pleads guilty in false work visa scheme
5 Years In Prison For Attorney Who Ran Immigration Fraud Mill
H-1B visa scam: Indian American man from New Jersey pleads guilty to immigration, tax fraud
Feds Cracking Down with Criminal Convictions Against Employers for H-1B and Work Visa Fraud
Owner Of New Jersey-Based Technology Company Sentenced To Prison For Money Laundering Related To Illegal Immigration Documents
Man convicted in New Jersey of immigration fraud extradited to U.S. from India after fleeing to avoid prison
ATLANTA IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO HARBOR ILLEGAL ALIENS IN THE UNITED STATES - Filed Fraudulent Applications for Visas on Behalf of His Clients
Owners of L.A.-area immigration consulting business arrested for visa fraud
Immigration Lawyer Indictments Expose H-1B Fraud
What lessons can we learn from previous lottery years?
• Multiple employers should not file H-1B petitions for the same person if offering work on the same project (and using an “in-house” project on a second filing does not avoid negative consequences either)
• Employees should be extremely cautious if there is potential for multiple filings on their behalf
• Be on the lookout for fraudulent end client issuing letters when the business does not really exist
• Sometimes the same fraudulent end client might issue letters for multiple companies
• Fraudulent end client may issue hundreds of letters
• Be careful of “in-house projects” or companies who will “find a project later”
• Don’t pay someone to file your H-1B petition
• Don’t take someone’s word for it – confirm all the facts!
The old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” fits the H-1B filing process perfectly. Before you decide to file, do some digging and make sure you know who is filing and what is being submitted. Your future immigration journey depends on it.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.