The federal government will enter a partial government shutdown at midnight Oct. 1 if Congress cannot agree on an appropriations bill or short-term spending measure. While many immigration services are funded by filing fees and may not be directly affected, some would come to a halt, including immigration functions at the Department of Labor.
- Department of Labor: In the event of a
government shutdown, the DOL would suspend operation of its
immigration functions. The department's Office of Foreign Labor
Certification would stop accepting and processing
immigration-related applications, including PERM applications,
labor condition applications, applications for prevailing wage
determinations and temporary employment certifications.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:
USCIS would continue processing visas, but delays would be
possible, particularly if the shutdown is prolonged. USCIS
petitions requiring action by the DOL would be directly affected.
Employers would be unable to file labor condition applications,
which are a prerequisite to H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 filings, including
extensions of status and changes of employers in those categories.
USCIS would continue to accept and process other immigrant and
nonimmigrant petitions, including adjustment of status (green card)
- State Department: The State Department would
continue processing visas and passports, so long as funds are
available. If other government agencies and offices that support
consular processing are unable to maintain operations at any time
during a shutdown, visa and passport processing could be
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement: ICE would
continue to operate. ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor
Information System (SEVIS) would continue its normal
- Customs and Border Protection: CBP ports of
entry would continue to operate. However, foreign nationals could
- E-Verify and other programs: A number of programs would be unavailable until they are reauthorized by Congress, including E-Verify. In the event of a shutdown, employers would be unable to enroll in E-Verify, access or create E-Verify cases or resolve tentative nonconfirmations. Employers would not be penalized for shutdown-related delays in E-Verify but would still be required to follow Form I-9 obligations and complete E-Verify cases when the system becomes available. Other programs that would be unavailable until they are reauthorized include the Conrad 30 waiver for J-1 physicians and the Special Immigrant Religious Workers program.
BAL Analysis: A government shutdown would have a significant effect on a number of immigration services, particularly those at the Department of Labor. While it remains possible that Congress could pass an appropriations bill or stopgap spending measure before Sept. 30, employers may wish to work with BAL to submit time-sensitive DOL filings before that date. BAL will continue following events in Washington, D.C., and will provide updates as information becomes available.
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