Government Shutdown Would Lead to Immigration Headaches

As you may have heard on the news, there is a possibility that the U.S. government could shut down if a budget agreement is not reached by the end of the fiscal year (October 1st.)  If there is, in fact, a government shutdown, all non-essential government functions would be closed, including most of the Department of Homeland Security.

The biggest effect of a government shutdown would be at the U.S. Department of State (DOS), which operates the Embassies and Consulates around the world and issues visas.  If the government does shut down, the Consulates will only be open for emergencies, which likely won’t include issuance of business visas.  When the government did shut down back in 1995 and 1996, it caused significant delays at the Consulates, which would likely be the case again.  Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would probably shut down completely, halting processing of prevailing wage requests, Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) and Applications for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA 9089), among others.

So what would remain open?  If the government does shut down, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) should continue to operate, since it is mostly funded by filing fees.  Also, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is considered “essential,” but staffing at the borders may be reduced.  Therefore, petitions should continue to be processed and individuals can still enter the country, but there may be delays.

We are hopeful that our government will reach a budget agreement by the end of this month.  However, as we are monitoring the developments, we wanted to forewarn you of the possibility of a government shutdown.  If there is an actual shutdown, Grzeca Law Group will provide you with updates on the effect to your company and employees.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

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