Visa hopefuls remain divided over the ethics of multiple filings through different employers and genuine job offers
It is the middle of the H-1B filing season and the time of the year again that brings along a lot of paperwork, enquiries, anxiety and stress for visa hopefuls.
H-1B is a work-based visa to the US that despite its often-debated restrictions remains one of the most coveted visas among professionals hoping to chart a career in the United States.
Read: H-1B workers’ spouses allowed to work in the US (March 30, 2023)
During this busy season, once again the debate on multiple filings has heated up in the visa circles. While most vehemently condemn how some individuals can file multiple applications through more than one company others argue that it may indeed be actually legal to do so.
While most H-1B holders maintain that they would never consider filing more than one application even if they had genuine multiple job offers in order to maintain a fair and ethical record, there are instances each year where a few individuals have reportedly filed more than one application.
In immigration and expat groups the topic has been under discussion as the H-1B filings continue. An H-1B holder living and working in the US for over a decade now, shares with the American Bazaar on condition of anonymity, “In the past, I have seen a case where a person from India applied for H-1B visa lottery through more than three different companies.”
“As someone who has seen the H-1B struggle first hand and for whom the wait for green cards continues, it feels unfair that one person can stand multiple chances, but another individual has to honestly wait for that single hit or miss.”
It may be noted, that in the past USCIS had published a warning and if it is found that there is a discrepancy and some random sister companies or such have been used to generate a job offer, it can lead to rejection of a petition and even a ban.
Read: Senate bill to reform H-1B, L-1 visa programs (March 29, 2023)
Seattle based Mohan K says, “If you are applying for a lottery through multiple employers who have a genuine job offer for you, then I don’t think there is anything that bars you from doing that.
“Now, whether or not it is ethical is the debate we can have. But surely some people may agree and others will disagree with the route.”
Another HR professional, Shyam Jha says, “It is legal to file more than one application. I don’t think we should stress about why someone filed more than one application. If there is anything amiss in their application they will have to suffer the consequences.”
Opinions remain divided and many first-time applicants are often confused on should they let go or explore this possibility. California based immigration consultant Netra Chavan explains the process.
“Please don’t cheat,” she says. “The multiple petitions will be considered ‘duplicate applications’ if filed by the same employer network for the same employee, intended to defeat the H-1B lottery limitation and even your authentic application will be denied.”
Read: USCIS receives enough initial H-1B registrations to reach cap (March 28, 2023)
For the uninitiated, she breaks down how the law works in simple terms. She says, “As an H-1B registrant once you have a bonafide full time offer from unrelated companies, you should be fine. Multiple H-1B cap registrations can be easily detected using your name and unique id number that is your passport number.”
“You as an H-1B employee must have decent mutual understanding with your multiple employers,” she says. “Now, if two or more of your petitions get picked in the lottery and if all get approved, you will simply have to pick which offer you want to accept but remember that other employers too have invested in you, he may send you notice towards contract breach, so be careful about that aspect too.”