As of today, September 25, 2023, Congress has not agreed to the temporary spending measures needed to fund the U.S. government after the current fiscal year ends on September 30, 2023. If no agreement is reached by Saturday, key government agencies will be forced to shut down. Below is a list of the U.S. government agencies linked to business immigration and the impact a potential government shutdown will have on these agencies:
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
USCIS is a fee-based agency, so its operations will mostly proceed as usual. E-Verify will be unavailable during the shutdown and employers may use the new remote Form I-9 document verification as an alternative.
Department of Labor
The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification will disable the FLAG system and not process PERM labor certification applications, prevailing wage determination requests, and labor condition applications (LCAs) during the government shutdown. If you anticipate the need to any H-1B, E-3, or H-1B1 nonimmigrant petition filings soon, you may want to speak with your immigration counsel to see if you can submit LCAs for those cases this week. It will also be prudent to file any PERMs or prevailing wage determination requests that can be prepped this week as well.
Department of State
The Department of State is partially fee-funded, and passport issuance and visa processing should continue at the start of the shutdown. However, a prolonged shutdown could limit consular activities to emergency services at certain posts due to insufficient funding. If you have upcoming travel plans to the U.S. that require a visa, please speak with your immigration counsel on how those plans might be impacted by a potential government shutdown.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
CBP will remain open because its employees are essential personnel. However, travelers may experience application processing delays at the border. If you have upcoming travel plans to the U.S. that require applying at the border, please speak with your immigration counsel on how those plans might be impacted by a potential government shutdown.
Social Security Administration (SSA)
The SSA has stated that it will continue to issue new social security cards and numbers in the event of a government shutdown. But thousands of SSA employees will be furloughed during the shutdown, and that can potentially cause significant delays with card and number issuance.
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