Executive Summary: On October 1,
2013, the U.S. Federal Government implemented a shutdown after
Congress failed to reach an agreement on appropriations. As a
result, several federal agencies involved in processing immigration
benefits have been impacted for the unforeseen future.
U.S. Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor
Certification ("OFLC") will neither accept nor process
any applications or related materials (such as audit responses) it
receives, including Labor Condition Applications (required for H-1B
and E-3 petitions), Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination,
Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or
Applications for Permanent Employment Certification (also known as
"PERM" or "Labor Certification"
applications.) OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa
Portal System, will become static and unable to process any
requests or allow authorized users to access their online
accounts. The processing of any pending matters will be
delayed until the DOL resumes operations. For more
information, see http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/.
U.S. Department of State
The U.S. Consulates and Embassies around the world are run by
the U.S. Department of State. U.S. Consulates issue U.S.
visas for foreign nationals and assist American citizens with a
variety of passport and other matters. According to the State
Department, visa and consular services will continue as usual
despite the lapse in appropriations starting October 1. Until
further notice, appointments for visa and American Citizen Services
will take place as scheduled. For more information see http://www.state.gov/m/rls/2013/214880.htm.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
All USCIS offices worldwide are open, and individuals should
report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. In
addition, USCIS will continue to process fee-based immigration
benefit petitions and applications. This includes numerous
temporary work visa petitions, work and travel documents. See
The E-Verify program currently is unavailable due to the
government shutdown. See https://e-verify.uscis.gov/emp/vislogin.aspx?JS=YES.
While E-Verify is unavailable, employers will not be able to access
their E-Verify accounts. As a result, companies will be
Enroll in E-Verify;
Verify employment eligibility;
View or take action on any case;
Add, delete or edit any User ID;
Edit company information;
Terminate an account;
Run reports; or
View "Essential Resources." (All essential
resources may be found by visiting www.dhs.gov/e-verify.)
In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services are
closed. As a result:
Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative
Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable.
Employers may send e-mails; however, USCIS cannot respond
until it reopens.
E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled.
E-Verify Self Check will not be available.
To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, USCIS
has implemented the following policies:
The "three-day rule" for E-Verify cases is suspended
for cases affected by the shutdown. USCIS will provide
additional guidance when it reopens. This does NOT affect the
Form I-9 requirement. Employers must still complete the Form
I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts
work for pay.
The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be
extended. Days the federal government is closed will not count
towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to
go to SSA or contact DHS. USCIS will provide additional time once
Federal contractors complying with the federal contractor rule
should contact their contracting officer to inquire about extending
Employers may not take any adverse action against an
employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including
while the employee's case is in an extended interim case status
due to a federal government shutdown. (Consult the
E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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I was recently reviewing the Department of Fair Employment and Housing's Annual Report (don't you wish you were me?), and saw that the DFEH received 17,632 complaints of employment discrimination in 2014. Of those, 12,344 (70%) alleged retaliation.