On Saturday, December 22 at 12:01 am, a partial government shutdown went into effect. While the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services remain unaffected by the shutdown, the U.S. Department of State and the E-Verify program will be impacted.
What does this all mean?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Labor remain open. New hire visa transfers will remain unimpacted, as well as applications filed in the electronic PERM program.
What is impacted?
A prolonged shutdown past Christmas and New Year’s day will likely mean that the E-Verify program and website will cease to work until a spending bill is passed. If the E-Verify portal is taken down by the federal government, EIG recommends that employers continue to I-9 new hires as usual, and maintain a list of individuals that will need to be entered into E-Verify once the service is restored. E-Verify will not consider these entries as late, as long as the new hires are entered into the system within a reasonable time once the service is restored. EIG recommends that this legal advisory is passed along to your onboarding team who handles I-9s and E-Verify.
- U.S. Department of State
A prolonged shutdown past Christmas and New Year’s day may also impact visa issuance at foreign U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world. While the State Department relies on visa application fees, like the U.S.C.I.S., the agency also is dependent upon appropriations from the federal government. A prolonged shutdown could likely mean increased visa wait times at U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the upcoming weeks, and a decrease in the number of visa application appointments offered to the public. If a prolonged shutdown were to occur, EIG would notify our clients of increased wait times for employees applying for visas at foreign U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
As the story develops, EIG will continue to keep you informed through our various information channels – the EIG Dispatch, the EIG Glomo, and the EIG “Immigration Nerds” Podcast.