As most of you know USCIS received 275k Registrations for H1B FY 2021 Season and they were all submitted and processed in their New Online H1B Registration Tool. Most of the systems go through rigorous testing and are launched only after they are close to perfect…but, at times, mistakes happen due to the way system was tested. It seems like such mistakes crept in with the new USCIS H1B registration system. AILA reported that many attorney have raised errors and the same was covered by Forbes as well. We will look at what it means and what can we expect from this situation.
As a background, if are not aware, AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) represents American immigration attorneys and usually works with various government agencies like DHS, USCIS, State Department for various immigration related regulations, issues faced by attorneys, etc..
What’s was the Issue with Mistakenly Denied H1B Registration ?
In general, as per H1B Duplicate Filings Rule by USICIS, you cannot file duplicates for same beneficiary, if they are for same job or if it for related companies. This is no different for H1B registrations too. As per the new H1B registration system a registration is considered “duplicate”, if there are more than one registration submitted for the same beneficiary or applicant by the same employer. If the system detects duplicates, it will automatically set the status of the registration as “Denied” and will not make it as part of the H1B Visa Lottery. See below screenshot on how it looks. It is reported to AILA by many immigration attorneys that USCIS has mistakenly denied their submitted registrations as “denied”, even though they are not duplicate registrations. The denials reported to AILA by attorneys add up to at least over 100 H1B Registrations, and maybe more. You can check AILA Practice Alert ( you need AILA login). As per AILA, there are at least 31 immigration attorneys, who indicated that over 100 H1B registrations were mistakenly classified as duplicates and technically rejected in Lottery. This was originally reported by AILA on March 31st, when the H1B Registrations results came out.
Is it only 100 or more H1B registrations were Mistakenly Denied by USCIS?
Well, this is hard to know. Unless someone reports it, it would not come out. In this context, many of the attorneys verified after the practice alert issued by AILA and reached out to them reporting the details. So, we do not know exactly how many were mistakenly classified as duplicate and denied in the lottery. It could be any number…If you look at the total H1B registration or applications filed for this, they are staggering 275,000, even if there was 1 percent error, that would amount to 2,750 that were wrongly classified. These could be big numbers considering the H1B cap and demand.
What could be the reason for Duplicates ? Deleted and Resubmitted ?
At this point, we do not know the exact reason. One of the attorneys from Fragomen indicated that they had to update some info , so they deleted a registration and then re-submitted a new one. Now, that registration is denied. So, it could be that the deleted and re-submissions are impacted…maybe, in the system they never delete the history and used that for duplicates detection…Again, these are guesses….There could be other reasons as well such as Payments that were processed on second run, but the registration status still had the payment confirmation that was rejected from first time…so, there are all possibilities. USCIS needs to do a root cause analysis on this and update everyone.
Has USCIS given any guidance on the mistakenly Denied H1B Registrations?
Nothing yet. Many attorneys and AILA has reached out to USCIS Indicating the issue, but so far we do not have any update on this from USCIS.
If you are an Employer, and have Denied Status what should you do ?
The first thing you need to do is check your submitted registrations, if there were duplicates submitted by you…if there were none, and still you see denied status, then you should reach out to your immigration attorney, who plan to file H1B for your company or you can directly reach out to USCIS and also inform AILA, if you are a a member and raise the issue. Hopefully USCIS will come back with a solution.
Is there anything that you can do as H1B Applicant for this Mistake in Selection ?
If you were told by your employer that it was denied, then you can ask them to re-check everything and then ask them to reach out to USCIS or their attorney to work with USCIS. This is a difficult situation for many, but we do not have any update at this point.
Well, we do not know at this point. They may or may not do it, depending on the issue and how many were impacted. USCIS has discretion to do few things, if they believe, it was a mistake…
Well, at this point we do not have any guidance from USCIS on this. If they confirm that it was a bug, maybe they can run lottery again on the erroneously denied registrations…But, we do not know how it will work…
Only a Lawsuit comes into picture, if there is something that is not addressed by USCIS properly. At this point, there is nothing planned by anyone. All of the parties have reached out to USICS and there is no new update yet. If the issue is not resolved properly, then there could be a lawsuit, it is a possibility…We need to wait and see.
What do you think of the mistake by USCIS ? Were you impacted ? Share your thoughts in comments.