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Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown, September 2023

It is appearing increasingly likely that there may be a shutdown of the Federal Government starting on October 1st. Should a shutdown occur, there are varying impacts on immigration processes.

USCIS: The USCIS relies on filing fees for most of its operational budget and will continue to remain open and adjudicate petitions. We will continue to be able to submit new petitions to USCIS. However, petitions that rely on prior action by the Department of Labor, such as LCA’s for H-1B and E-3 petitions, and ETA 9089’s for I-140 petitions, may encounter delays.

Department of Labor: Unlike USCIS, all DOL operations are funded based on Congressional allocation for budget. This means that in the event of a shutdown DOL will stop processing immigration-related forms, including labor condition applications for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3, prevailing wage requests, and PERM labor certifications.

Any existing filing will be paused, and new applications will not be accepted. In the past, DOL has provided a grace period for PERM filing for applications where the filing deadline fell during the time period a government shutdown occurred.

I-9 and E-Verify: In the event of a government shutdown, companies are still obligated to complete I-9 forms for new hires. However, the E-Verify platform will likely be unavailable. For companies that utilize E-Verify and are now utilizing the remote document verification benefit, they can continue to complete the remote document verification for I-9 purposes and complete new E-Verify inquiries when the platform is operating again.

CBP: CBP operations at ports of entry are considered critical to national security. International travel will not be disrupted and petitions at ports of entry (i.e. TN and L-1) will continue to be reviewed.

Department of State: Consulates and embassies primarily staff consular operations for visa stamps based on fees. Consulates and embassies should continue to process requests for visa stamps.

For additional questions about how a government shutdown may impact your company or existing immigration processes, please reach out to your Meltzer Hellrung attorney.