American immigration advocacy groups file lawsuit seeking into H-1B lottery process

American Immigration

A lawsuit was filed against the US government by two major US immigration-related support organisations demanding transparency into the lottery process of H-1B work visas – the ones most sought after by IT professionals, especially from India.

The American Immigration Council (AIC) and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) filed the lawsuit against DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) seeking information on how the government is overseeing the H-1B lottery process.

According to a statement, both the groups alleged that USCIS did not ever clarify the exact selection procedure. Melissa Crow, AIC Legal Director, said after the petitions are submitted to USCIS in April, they seem to vanish into a ‘black box’. The intention of this suit is to make USCIS open that box so that the US public and the people most directly affected know how the lottery system functions from start to completion, and to understand if the system is being conducted fairly as mandated by the law.

The attempts have met with resistance, notwithstanding the promises of the Obama administration to the values of transparency and accountability, said Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive director. Johnson added that USCIS had not been heeding their requests for information on how the lottery was being conducted.

Every year, employers in the US, who want to recruit highly skilled migrant workers, submit petitions on the first working day of April for H-1B non-immigrant visas. The yearly limit for these visas is 65,000 for new recruits and 20,000 more for professionals having a Master’s or Doctoral degree from an accredited US educational institution.

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