The USCIS, on June 25, provided a statement regarding the financial turmoil it is experiencing. “The agency has made several questionable policy decisions over the past three and a half years, including failing to implement a timely and moderate fee increase, as well as initiating a surge of red tape and staff hiring that likely led USCIS from surplus to insolvency,” wrote Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless, and Lindsay Milliken in an analysis published in the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. Faced with a coronavirus-driven budget crunch and potential furloughs next month, U.S. In short, it is a lack of financial planning and austerity. It is hard to imagine that the USCIS will be able to stick anywhere near its current processing times for typical H1B or other status extensions, change of employer, or change of status applications. We continue to work with Congress to provide the necessary funding to avert this unfortunate consequence.” 01, 2020 USCIS to Furlough Staff Posted by Frank Gogol. This would potentially leave the applicant without work authorization and a U.S. company without a critical employee. In addition to adjudicating green cards and naturalizations, USCIS also handles temporary work visas and some humanitarian benefits, such as asylum. A decision is expected around the end of July, possibly as part of the next coronavirus relief package. If Congress doesn’t approve the bailout, the furlough could last for three months or longer, according to one report. Here are three impacts to be considered and discussed with immigration counsel to prepare for and strategize should there be no Congressional bail-out and should the furlough extend beyond 30 days. Without Premium Processing, cases already take months. COVID-19 is still a thing, causing lots of delays and cancellations, even though it seems that the number of cases has decreased in different places around the world. It is true that a small group of H-4 holders can obtain work authorization but again the numbers we are looking at here are minuscule compared to the joblessness in the U.S. Late in July, USCIS agreed to postpone the […] There are numerous statistics proving this out from dramatic increases in requests for evidence from the USCIS, to a large increase in denial rates, all occurring without any official regulatory changes in adjudication standards or eligibility requirements. A looming furlough of thousands of U.S. These are but a few questions that will certainly be litigated in the near future. So what are the practical implications of the expected USCIS furlough of two-thirds of its entire workforce, over 13,000 employees? Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates. U.S. Furloughs at USCIS would not directly impact processes at NVC or the embassy/consulate. It is also important to note that only the H1B allows for this portability. Applicants typically only require one service at a time. 2101 4th Ave, Suite 850 Seattle, WA 98121. In a time where the business community is already struggling to find solid ground under COVID-19, Trump’s Immigration Executive Orders, and the current economic climate, this is just another burden to carry with real-world implications. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas signed a bipartisan letter to USCIS on Friday saying the agency has enough money to continue current operations through the end of … Also, will the USCIS turn to greatly increasing filing fees? Possible Mass-Furloughs at USCIS Could Severely Impact Services. Therefore, it is often the case that H1B employees prefer to wait until an H1B change of employer application is approved before starting with the new petitioning company. They have different policies, budgets + funding sources, staff, etc. The furlough may affect the Premium Processing service, which USCIS recently reinstated in phases beginning June 1, 2020. This bill is an important emergency stopgap measure to protect the over 1,100 Vermonters and the more than 13,000 USCIS employees nationwide who currently face the risk of furlough. The reality is that although COVID-19 has impacted everyone, it is also the case that the USCIS must have been in financial-straits well before COVID-19 not to be able to bridge this gap. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to furlough 13,400 of its nearly 20,000 employees unless Congress approves a $1.2 billion bailout by Aug. 3, a move that could cause further delays in green card and U.S. citizenship application processing. He is one of the 13,400 USCIS employees who has received a furlough notice, scheduled to go into effect August 3, 2020, for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90. USCIS is planning to furlough its 13,000 employees due to lack of funding. U.S. Senators are asking DHS and USCIS to take immediate action to save USCIS employees from such furloughs. U.S. Nevertheless, the USCIS is still asking for a bailout and it appears they still plan to furlough 13,000 workers come August 3. Will the agency be led to double-down on this effort or will there be a required relaxation to try and somehow keep adjudications moving before making the entire system completely unworkable? Looking at situations where companies wish to sponsor an employee and onboard them from another employer, it is important to note that the H1B visa provides some relief by allowing for portability. (See Impending USCIS Furloughs Will Contribute to Historic Drop in US Immigration Levels). View the original story HERE. "All USCIS operations, including naturalization ceremonies, will be impacted by a furlough," spokesperson Joe Sowers said in a statement. “There are already so many backlogs to work through.”. The furlough notices, which USCIS sent out earlier this month, said the unpaid time off would last for at least 30 days. The number of applications and requests it can process each year will likely drop substantially. Citizenship and Immigration Services told contractors Wednesday that the agency is “reviewing its entire contract portfolio and future requirements to prioritize those that provide the most critical mission essential services.” This has been done under the guise of COVID-19 but it is worth noting that the unemployment rate in technology jobs, which make up about two-thirds of all H1B roles, is around 4%. USCIS Furlough Impact #1: H1B Processing as well as Other Change of Status, Change of Employer, and Extension of Status Applications Will Slow. Boundless is constantly monitoring changes to the U.S. immigration system to help keep you informed. It’s still a danger, and it seems it is also affecting USCIS because only recently, they declared they are planning to furlough some of its employees. 01, 2020 PUBLISHED 5:21 PM EDT Jul. To better understand the impact of a USCIS staff furlough, I interviewed Doug Rand, who worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House as assistant director for entrepreneurship and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship. But it’s likely they will slow down the processing of applications and “will for sure cause noticeable delays immediately,” a USCIS employee told Reuters. It is important to note that the USCIS does not get more in fees when a case is challenged and the timeline is drawn out. If Congress does approve it, but not for the full amount, then furloughs will probably still go into effect, but likely for a shorter period. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency would avert its plans to furlough about 13,400 employees come Aug. 30 and that it would continue operating through the end of fiscal year 2020. USCIS is part of DHS. So what will be interesting to see, and possibly alarming, is how a greatly reduced workforce will approach adjudication of the cases they can actually get to. “Well right now I’m supposedly one step away from becoming a U.S. citizen,” said Martha, an immigrant […] Boundless is not affiliated with or endorsed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or any other government agency. The Migration Policy Institute recently issued a report on how the anticipated USCIS furlough of more the 70% of its workers, scheduled to commence August 30, 2020, will impact current immigration processing. That said, it is conceivable that even 240 days might not be sufficient to get cases adjudicated. But immigration policy experts say the agency’s financial woes began long before the pandemic. In one of the Trump administration’s latest moves, arguably outside of its executive powers, it released a June 22, 2020, Immigration Executive Order impacting the entry of H, L, and J visa holders. Fewer staff members will further slow down the immigration and reduce what fees the USCIS can collect. The USCIS told ET in an emailed response that without US Congressional intervention, it will “need to administratively furlough a portion of our employees on approximately July 20. Start the application with Boundless within the next 14 days, and you'll save $50. Thus, if the furlough goes into effect, it will interrupt nearly all permanent and temporary immigration processing. The ostensible reason for the furlough was a budget shortfall, even though USCIS is a fee-based service that historically has covered costs. All of the added focus and burden on USCIS to make immigration processing as painful and difficult as possible has led to an incredible amount of wasted time on every case filing. Blank immigration forms with written instructions, including for spousal visas, are available for free at the USCIS website. "At this time, we do not have the number of … Boundless is not a law firm and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. However, USCIS may decide to retain the service due to the extra revenue it brings. It is still unclear whether or not Congress will approve the bailout. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that the agency will avert an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees, scheduled to begin Aug. 30 as a result of unprecedented spending cuts and a steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts. This story originally appeared in El Paso Matters. In the past few months, USCIS has taken action to avert a fiscal crisis, including limiting spending to salary and mission-critical activities. HQ: 90 New Montgomery St. Suite 750, San Francisco 94105, US Immigration Solutions for Entrepreneurs, Professionals, and High-Growth Companies, Corporate Immigration, Individuals, News, L1 Visa, Webinars, H1B Visa, Corporate Immigration, Individuals, News, L1 Visa, H1B Visa. Lastly, when considering a change of status application, for example, an F1 student who is completing OPT or STEM OPT could file for a change of status to another visa types, whether an O1 visa or other option, there is no portability allowed and these change of status applications would likely be very slow in processing. USCIS furlough to further impact US immigration process Meanwhile, the USCIS said it was extending to 60 calendar days the time required for petitioners to respond to requests for evidence and other notices, once the request or notice has been received, if the issuance date is between March 1 and September 11, 2020. Impact of the Possible Furloughs. Since the start of the Trump administration, data shows that the backlog of cases at USCIS has continuously grown, … This was never required and was handled only where deemed truly necessary. , so you can be alerted as soon as more official details come to light. The agency threatened to furlough over 13,000 of its staff in the process—a step that would bring the U.S. immigration system to a near standstill. The USCIS provides in part that: The majority of USCIS operations rely on fees paid by applicants and petitioners, not appropriated or taxpayer funds. 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