Updates on the Government Reopening
U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”)
Effective this morning, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (“OFLC”) began to accept and process Labor Condition Applications (LCAs), Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, and Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC’s web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, has been restored, but due to the high volume of applications being filed, the system has been slow.
The DOL is also making adjustments to grant additional time to allow employers, who were unable to respond to DOL’s inquiries or requests during the government shutdown, to now respond to the DOL.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)
During the government shutdown, H-1B, H-2A and H-2B petitioners were unable to obtain LCAs, Prevailing Wage Determinations, or Temporary Employment Certifications, which were required to file the I-129 petitions with USCIS.
USCIS just posted a message on its website this afternoon advising that H-1B, H-2A, or H-2B petitioner, who was unable to timely file an extension of stay or change of status requests due to the government shutdown, may submit evidence establishing that the primary reason for failing to timely file an extension of stay or change of status request was due to the government shutdown, and USCIS will consider the government shutdown as an extraordinary circumstance and excuse the late filing, if the petitioner meets all other applicable requirements.
Additionally, it appears that the immigration functions of other government agencies, including USCIS Ombudsman Office, E-Verfiy, and Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”), have be restored as well.
We will continue to monitor and advise on further significant development in this regard. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact us.