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Immigration Law

"USCIS Will Not Concede" H-1B Registration Problems Exist

Stuart Anderson, Forbes, Apr. 13, 2020

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) disputes that it denied numerous H-1B registrations as duplicates during the H-1B visa lottery process due to flaws in its new system. Attorneys raised concerns after discovering many foreign-born professionals, through no fault of their own, were denied a chance at one of the 85,000 H-1B petitions available for new H-1B visa holders. USCIS revealed for the first time that the scope of the denials was much larger than first thought, while attorneys still believe there are problems in the USCIS system. ... In response to a request for comment, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official told me on background that approximately 900 H-1B registrations were denied as duplicates, many more than the 170 registrations identified by attorneys who contacted AILA. ... While some attorneys concede there may have been user error, other attorneys remain unclear or unconvinced if the USCIS explanation applies to their situations. “We see no duplicates in our corporate client’s registration page or on ours,” Michael P. Nowlan, co-leader of the Clark Hill law firm’s immigration business unit, told me. “If there was a duplicate, I suspect that it could have been visible before the system closed on March 20th. But it isn’t showing up now . . . We have no visibility into this. The cases do not show up as duplicates for our corporate clients – just denials. If there was human error, then it would be nice to be able to see the trail. Right now, it looks like USCIS is dug in on the issue.” ... It does appear unlikely employers or attorneys submitted 900 duplicate H-1B registrations as a way to gain an advantage, particularly given the enormous risks of being eliminated from the lottery entirely. Instead, the evidence indicates up to 900 foreign-born professionals were denied an opportunity to be selected in the H-1B lottery because the system USCIS created has problems – problems that USCIS will not concede exist."