The recent U.S. Federal Government shutdown will impact immigration services in a number of ways and throughout several different agencies. This article will touch upon the effects in which the shutdown will have on petitions, labor certifications and visas.
Immigration services can easily be organized into three standard categories: security, fee-paying and non-fee paying. Although it is expected that those services considered vital to national security to continue, there will most likely be delays in fee paying activities and most likely a halt of services for the non-paying category.
Non-Fee Paying Services
As recently announced by the Department of Labor, there will be a complete halt on processing for permanent labor certifications. This means that all new applications will most likely by rejected through the online system. This rejection does not mean that the labor certification is denied, merely that it will not be accepted into processing. Furthermore, Labor Condition Application filing times will be affected by significant delay.
This problem is expected to continue to grow exponentially each day as the shutdown continues. The shutdown will assuredly have negative impacts on both pending applications as well as any which are filed following the resumption of government activity.
Being that USCIS is a fee-based agency, USCIS will continue accepting and processing both applications as well as petitions, but it should be expected that there will be delays in processing time due to furloughed staff.
The E-verify system allows employers to view the eligibility of potential employees to work in the United States. A significant blow to the immigration world will be the shutdown of the E-verify system which will not be functioning during the hiatus. This means that citizens and businesses alike will be unable to view and access E-verify.
All consular operations both domestic and international will remain fully operational provided there is adequate funding. However, this funding is only expected to last for a few short days at which point consular points will redirect all remaining attention to diplomatic services and emergency services for U.S. citizens.
It is widely expected that there will be significant delays in visa processing times and if the shutdown continues to a certain point, a cessation of visa processing is possible.
As the shutdown continues and more developments arise, Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC will report them in a timely and reliable fashion.