As of October 1, 2013, the U.S. federal government is officially partially shut down. The partial government shutdown will impact immigration services across a number of different government agencies. In this article we address the impact of the shutdown on petitions, visas, and labor certifications.
All USCIS offices are open and will continue to accept and process applications and petitions. As such, individuals should report to interviews and appoints as scheduled. However, E-Verify is currently unavailable due to the government shutdown. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “citizens and U.S. businesses will not be able to access E-Verify, the Internet based system that allows employers to voluntarily determine the eligibility of prospective employees to work in the United States.”
Department of State
The Department of State has confirmed that “consular operations domestically and overseas will remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations.” However, this is expected to last only a few days, after which consular posts will focus solely on diplomatic services and emergency services for American citizens. In the event of a prolonged shutdown, we expect delays or cessation of visa processing.
Department of Labor
The Department of Labor will cease its Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) function and its employees would be placed in furlough status, meaning that the Department will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.
In addition, the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.
CIS Ombudsman’s Office
The CIS Ombudsman's Office will be closed and will not be accepting any inquiries through their online case intake system.
Security and enforcement agencies are considered essential to national security. Therefore, Custom of Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will continue to operate near normal capacity