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New H1B Lottery Selection Process from FY 2025: Final Rule,FAQs

As most of you know, the current H1B Lottery process is subject to a lot of fraud. Last year, for the H1B Visa FY 2024 season, of the total of 780,884 H1B registrations received by USCIS, about 408,891 of them submitted more than one H1B registration, indicating they had multiple offers.

The crazy data points revealed by USCIS indicated that hundreds of them submitted over 25 H1B registrations per applicant, gaming the system to an unimaginable extent. To combat all this fraud, USCIS proposed changing the H1B Lottery process as part of the broader H1B program modernization regulation published in October 2023.

USCIS has taken a section of that extensive regulation and published a final rule changing the H1B lottery process starting from the H1B Fiscal Year(FY) 2025 season. In this article, we will cover all the details of how it would work and common FAQs around the same.

Background: Why is the H1B Lottery Process Changing?

USCIS introduced the H1B Registration Process from the H1B FY 2021 season to save employers time and effort with the lengthy paperwork and many manual processes. Over the fiscal years 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024, so much fraud was committed that USCIS had to rethink the lottery selection process to combat fraud.

The below data shows how many multiple registrations were submitted in the last few years:

H1B Registrations Received by USCIS from FY 2021 to FY 2024
H1B Registrations Received by USCIS from FY 2021 to FY 2024

USCIS data analysis showed that many submitted crazy amounts of H1B registrations per applicant, which is unrealistic. Think about it…how do you get 50 or 75 offer letters for real jobs? The tables below show how many applicants submitted and the number of H1B registrations they submitted. The applicant numbers are grouped by registrations ranging from 75 or more H1B registrations to 2 or more H1B registrations.

Multiple H1B Registrations Submission Data for H1B FY 2022 and FY 2023 Seasons
Multiple H1B Registrations Submission Data for H1B FY 2022 and FY 2023 Seasons

USCIS proposed the changes to the H1B Lottery in a proposed H1B modernization rule seeking user comments back in October 2023. You can read more at Proposed Rule to Modernize H1B Program, Combat Fraud. The current final rule is based on the same proposed regulation, with changes considered based on the feedback and comments from the public and various stakeholders.

Summary of New H1B Lottery Selection Process from FY 2025

The new H1B lottery selection process rule published by USCIS is a final rule, which means there will not be any changes, and it will take effect in 30 days. Below is the summary of the new H1B Lottery Selection Process starting from H1B Fiscal Year 2025.

Beneficity Centric Selection Process for H1B Registrations

The new H1B lottery selection will be based on the beneficiary( nothing but H1B applicant). In the past, the H1B lottery selection process was based on the H1B registrations submitted and not on the H1B applicant.

In the past, if one person were to submit five registrations, all five were put into the H1B lottery. But, now, with the new H1B lottery process, even if there are five registrations submitted for the applicant from 5 different employers, they will be treated as one, and only one will be put into the lottery.

All employers are required to submit a valid passport or a valid travel document for the H1B applicant. The online H1B registration system will pick the unique passport numbers or travel document numbers from the entire pool and run a lottery on them. Even if the applicant has more than one registration, their unique passport number or travel document number will be used only once in the lottery pool to avoid any unfair chances in the lottery.

The below diagram explains how the current H1B lottery works in comparison with the new H1B lottery starting from Fiscal Year(FY) 2025:

Current and New H1B Lottery from 2025 Explained
Current and New H1B Lottery from 2025 Explained

USCIS Can deny or revoke H1B petition for Change in Applicant’s Info

USCIS is codifying its ability to deny an H1B petition or revoke approval of an approved H1B petition if it sees any change in the applicant’s identification information, such as passport or travel document number, including personal info.

They can also deny or revoke if there was a false attestation done, the registration fee was invalid, or the petition was not based on a valid H1B registration.

Also, they are codifying their ability to deny H1B petition if any of the LCA, Temporary Labor Certification(TLC), H1B registration, or any other details were inaccurate, fraudulent, or any facts were misrepresented.

Start Date Flexibility for certain H1B cap-subject petitions

As part of the new final rule, when employers submit an H1B petition after lottery selection, they can request a start date that can be after October 1st of the applicable fiscal year. In the past, all applicants had to choose October 1st.

The employers are free to choose any start that falls within the six months from the date of the submission of the H1B Petition. For instance, if someone is selected in the H1B lottery and files an H1B petition in August, they can request a start date of up to February of next year ( 6 months from August)

H1B Registration Fee to Stay at $10

USCIS announced a Fee Change Final rule, that has the H1B Registration Fee increase to $215. But, the fee change final rule will be effective starting from April 1st, 2024. Due to the timing of the effective date, USCIS is not able to use the $215 fee for FY 2025 season. The H1B registration Fee for FY 2025 season would be $10 per H1B Registration.

Multiple Passport – Dual Citizenship

If an individual has dual citizenship, they can use only one passport for their entire H1B registrations, if they have more than one offers. If USCIS finds out that someone tried to use different passport numbers or use their other passport, then they would invalidate such registrations, deny or revoke approvals in future.

USCIS said that the current information they collect such as legal name, date of birth, country of birth during registration will help them combat such fraud. They say that they have systems in place to detect and enforce this.

Public Comments

USCIS received about 510 comments that were related to the H1B registration and they addressed all of them in the 121 pag document that is published on the Federal Register. There were all sorts of suggestions, including opposition to implementing this new lottery process or new ideas around wage-based systems, merit, country, etc. But, USCIS stuck to their initial proposal and addressed all the concerns in this document.

Official Final Rule : Check Improving the H-1B Registration Selection Process and Program Integrity

Common FAQs

What is the difference between a Passport and vs. Travel Document?

Some countries have Travel Documents that can be used instead of a Passport to enter America. It depends on the country. For more, check US Dept of State Recirprocity Page

Shouldn’t everyone have Passport? Why added Travel Document option?

Some stateless individuals, refugees and others, who are not able to get a valid passport can use Travel Document information. Applicants can only enter one of it, either passport info or travel document info. This is the same they should use to enter the US, if selected in H1B lottery.

What happens, if my passport is expiring? Can I use that for Registration?

USCIS did address saying that, in such cases, where the applicant has a scenario, the applicant can use old passport, but has to submit relevant proofs of the old and new passport. USCIS would consider such requests and approve them based on their discretion.

What do you think of the new H1B Lottery Process? Do you think it will combat fraud? Share your thoughts in comments section below.

   

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