There seems to be a general consensus that a government shutdown is very
likely as legislators continue to debate a spending bill to fund the government.
If the legislature does not pass a bill by 12 midnight, then the government
will officially shut down on Tuesday, October 1 at 12:01 a.m. EST. This
would be the first government shutdown in 17 years.
USILaw has contacted USCIS, AILA, and other stakeholders on the impact
of a government shutdown on the processing of Immigration petitions by
the USCIS and other related agencies. We are happy to inform our clients
that, for the most part, 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 works closely
with 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. It is not clear at this point whether the November Visa
Bulletin numbers will be affected by the possible government shutdown.
Please also beware that we are entering unchartered territory as the impact
of a potential government shutdown will be unpredictable and depend on
the duration and other unforeseen elements.
We will be providing periodic updates on this issue.
Should you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please contact us.