Impact on Immigration Matters
There seems to be an increasing likelihood of a U.S. government shutdown as legislators continue to debate a spending bill to fund the government. If a bill is not passed into law by tomorrow, the government will officially shut down on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time.
As during previous government shutdowns, it is expected that the USCIS will continue to operate normally, in that they will continue to receive and adjudicate immigration applications. This is because USCIS is funded primarily through applicant fees.
However, immigration may be affected in cases where USCIS applications are effects by other government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”). In the event of a government shutdown, the DOL is likely to suspend certifications of Labor Condition Applications associated with H-1B filings, as well as Applications for Permanent Labor Certification (“PERM”) associated with immigrant petitions for alien workers.
Similarly, the Department of State is expected to significantly slow or suspend visa processing in the event of a government shutdown. Since the Department of State is expected to discontinue non-emergency visa services at U.S. Consulates worldwide, visa applicants should be aware that no new visas will be issued, and consular appointments will likely be cancelled or postponed.
Congressional leaders are still hopeful that a solution may be found – if only for a short term continuing resolution that will keep the government open for a few more weeks.
We will be providing periodic updates on this issue.
Should you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please contact us.