US Citizenship and Immigration Services Sounds Alarm Over Tech Visa Lottery
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has raised “serious concerns” about the increase in applications for visas used in the technology industry for the second year running. H-1B visas, used by the tech industry, are in high demand, especially with companies such as Alphabet, FacebookAmazon, and IBM, thus giving potential visa-holders a significant advantage in the job market.
Over 780,000 applications were made for H-1B visas this year, representing a 61% rise from last year’s 483,927 which significantly surpasses the available 85,000 slots available. As a result, the US government has increased restrictions on visa submission to thwart fraud, which is expected to help legitimate applicants.
Multiple entries have created serious concerns over the visa program’s efficacy, especially since it is crucial to the operation of the tech industry. By stretching the H-1B visa program beyond its intended purpose, opportunists are putting the technology industry’s lifeline at risk. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has denied multiple petitions and may take additional steps, which could include referring cases for possible crimes.
A lightning rod in the immigration debate, H-1B visas have been used by the tech industry to bring software engineers and others into the USA. Critics claim H-1Bs undermine US citizens and lawful permanent residents, alleging that they are merely pawns in companies’ desire for cheap labor. However, tech giants oppose critics’ arguments, suggesting that H-1Bs are necessary to fill critical roles in a vital sector of the US economy.
As the tech industry’s demand for H-1B visas has escalated, major companies have seen their winning lottery submissions diminish. Although the immediate causes of the surge in applications are unknown, it may be that legitimate companies are finding it difficult to find enough qualified US-based talent to fill their technology-driven employment vacancies.
According to a partner at a law firm that represents major technology companies, some applicants may be raising multiple entries, fooling the system to stack the deck in their favor by winning further entries than allowed. Moreover, some companies may be overestimating their labor demands when they enter the lottery in March, resulting in a glut of applications. The computer-generated lottery selected 110,791 winners for the 85,000 slots, from which companies have until June 30 to confirm they will proceed with hiring. If that number falls short of the available slots, the government may hold another lottery to fill the remaining vacancies.
As the US immigration process continues to evolve, companies and their legal representatives will face further challenges to secure visas for foreign workers. As per information from the source, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is continuously monitoring the situation to prevent fraudulent and malfeasance activities.