The U.S Government is on a partial shutdown…
The U.S. government is on a partial shutdown, affecting many services including immigration law enforcement and benefit adjudications provided by different government agencies. Here is a summary of the effect of the shutdown on various employment-related immigration services.
U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”)
DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (“OFLC”) has stopped accepting or processing any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), including Labor Condition Applications (LCAs), Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC’s web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, has been down and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.
DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)
USCIS operations are largely funded by filing fees required for various petitions and applications, and thus processing of benefit petitions and applications are expected to continue during the shutdown although the processing times may be lengthened.
USCIS posted a message on its website today advising all offices are open and instructing applicants who have interviews scheduled to appear at the offices for interviews. It further advises that if an office is closed, USCIS will reschedule all appointments when it resumes operations.
U.S. Department of State (“DOS”)
The DOS indicated that it would continue as many normal operations as possible, including consular operations and the fee-funded visa applications, but there may be some difficulties with passport issuance, due to the need to access federal buildings.
The shutdown has also affected other immigration-related government agencies to various extents, such as Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”). Furthermore, E-Verify is currently unavailable but USCIS has implemented new policies to help affected employers during the shutdown.
We will continue to monitor and advise on further development in this regard. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact us.