USCIS is a self-sufficient agency, meaning it does not get money from the government. USCIS claims it has a $1.2 billion budget shortfall, meaning it would have to furlough 13,400 employees and effectively bring the immigration system to a halt. “Our workforce is the backbone of every USCIS accomplishment. The planned furlough of 70% of USCIS workers would bring USCIS to operations to a standstill halt and leave U.S. employers, foreign workers, and families in limbo. USCIS employs nearly 20,000 nationally, meaning the furloughs cover two-thirds of the agency’s workforce. As a reminder, FY2020 ends on September 30, 2020, so the reprieve is temporary. In less than a week, U.S. To better understand the impact of a USCIS staff furlough, I interviewed Doug Rand, who worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House … Citizenship and Immigration Services will be putting 13,400 employees on indefinite furlough this summer. Unless Congress steps in, 13,400 employees will be furloughed, including my husband. Citizenship and Immigration Service staff for up to 3 months . U.S. She is the principal and co-founder of Tancinco Law Offices and may be reached at law@tancinco.com, www.tancinco.com, facebook.com/tancincolaw, or at 1-888-930-0808). So that’s why I tell my colleagues to pretend they are defense counsel with these challenges: less is more, only answer questions USCIS asks! Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to furlough roughly 13,400 of its 20,000 employees due to budget shortfalls. Update on USCIS Budget: Furlough of Staff Averted But Delays Still Projected In May, U.S. If USCIS fails to address the grave budget shortfall, the situation would get worse. USCIS Cancels Planned Furloughs. This provides plenty of time to coordinate an effective RFE response. Lynn O’Brien is a Senior Associate Attorney in the Northern Virginia office of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. According to USA Today, notices were already sent to 13,400 USCIS employees that they will be furloughed as of August 30, 2020. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expected to furlough more than two-thirds of its employees beginning August 3, 2020, for at least a month and up to three months or more. Most USCIS operation costs are taken from fees that are paid by applicants or petitioner’s. This might seem like a time-saver for a swamped attorney, but trust me—it never works out when an employee or company takes over handling logistics related to obtaining an expert opinion or professor evaluation. But the fee-funded agency has recently brought in $800 million more than it projected, leaving some lawmakers to say a furlough is unnecessary, with or without a bill from Congress. A chat with Lynn O’Brien. It’s certainly a tough spot for employers who may not have budgeted for premium processing but who have to weigh the risks that their cases may not receive decisions when expected, or that there’s some possibility of another furlough threat. Without additional funding from Congress before August 3, USCIS has no choice but to administratively furlough a substantial portion of our workforce," the statement said. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notified Congress that the agency predicted a budget shortfall for the remainder of 2020, reportedly due to a lower volume of … Be quick: Do not dilly-dally when preparing the RFE response! Be effective: Try not to spread responsibility for the response too far. Latecomers may not be responded to until mid-2021. And, if that were to happen, would premium processing remain available? Maybe before that response, USCIS didn’t see any issue with the beneficiary’s qualifications, but now that you drew attention to them, maybe USCIS will review them more carefully and then issue a NOID. He asked USCIS to reconsider its decision to furlough the 13,400 employees. It maintains itself with fees. As you and I have discussed, Park knows firsthand what happens when a beneficiary’s qualifications weren’t an issue before, but in reviewing the RFE, Park has seen USCIS raise issue with the professor’s analysis of the beneficiary’s academics and move to deny on that basis. Now cuts will come from its operations. For many immigration advocates and immigrants themselves, this is very concerning, however, the Trump Administration has stated that the furlough is simply due to Congress’s failure to reach a new coronavirus deal. If the furlough is prolonged, after H-1B workers have used their accrued paid time off, employers are required to pay the regular H-1B salaries through the furlough period. “I regret to inform you that U.S. Getting in early and staying smart about the response—these are the best tools attorneys working in business immigration have to deliver value and confidence to their clients in this environment. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will furlough you for more than 30 continuous calendar days, in a non-duty and non-pay status, for fewer than 90 days, beginning August 3, 2020,” reads a furlough notice sent on June 29. Citizenship and Immigration Services to furlough more than two-thirds of its work force. Personal note: it seems to me that USCIS … Beginning August 31, 2020, USCIS will operate with only one-third of its usual staff. In … The deadline for the furloughs beginning to happen is August 3rd. Potential USCIS Furloughs Will Make Immigration Come to a Grinding Halt. USCIS is an agency of about 19,000 employees that gets almost all of its funding from fees it charges - furloughs could begin in August due to disrupted cashflow. What I mean is, when preparing the different components of the response package, keep as much as you can in-house. USCIS employees recently received a notice that around 2/3 of their staff are to be furloughed by August 30 of this year. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations tweeted on August 18, 2020 that USCIS has sufficient funds to avoid furloughs. See update. The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act and What USCIS Furloughs Could Mean for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued furlough notices to 13,700 of its 20,000 employees, potentially putting as much as 73% of USCIS staff our of work temporarily. We appreciate you acting as civil servants, persevering to do your jobs even as furloughs have been… That last one might seem mysterious, but bear with me. Many businesses do not know if they will be able to secure their most valuable foreign national employees for later in 2020 or for 2021. It comes down to three things: be quick, be effective, and think like a litigator. The U.S. "I regret to inform you that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on August 25 that it will abandon plans to furlough roughly two-thirds of its workforce due to a budget shortfall. (Always check the USCIS website for updates.) Think like a litigator: The expert opinion letter brings me to my next point. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices nationwide. Posted on December 23, 2020. USCIS has just re-opened CAP, meaning there are additional H-1B visa slots at stake. More, here. According to USA Today, notices were already sent to 13,400 USCIS employees that they will be furloughed as of August 30, 2020. U.S. A USCIS spokesperson confirmed that furloughs are an option, but refused to specify how many employees could be affected. It does seem that way. She represents clients in various industries so that US employers can obtain the talent they need when they need it. The USCIS already has issued furlough notices and plans to shut down operations within 30 days, unless Congress sends it about $1.1 billion. Businesses Updated 8/27: Just days before USCIS was set to furlough over 13,000 employees, the agency announced on August 26, 2020, that it will cancel the upcoming furloughs through the end of the current fiscal year 2020. ... Furloughs, as an austerity tactic, are not uncommon; however, the pending furlough is administrative, meaning it is planned and designed by the federal government. Thousands of staffers were notified in July that decreased revenue from the COVID-19 office closures would mean furloughs on Aug. 3. USCIS is planning to furlough over 13,000 employees on … USCIS is an agency of about 19,000 employees that gets almost all of its funding from fees it charges - furloughs could begin in August due to disrupted cashflow. Unless Congress steps in, 13,400 employees will be furloughed, including my husband. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is dependent on fees from new immigration applications for its … She also frequently speaks on other topics including the unpredictable immigration environment and program management issues, bringing the insider perspective from a firm devoted exclusively to corporate immigration. The U.S. agency in charge of processing immigration applications said on Wednesday it was preparing to furlough nearly 70% of its workforce unless it received fresh funding, a move employees say could bring an already backlogged system to a virtual halt. And, even if you have a non-cap case, you still don’t want your case to get further down in the queue under the cap cases. It maintains itself with fees. Most importantly, the agency is asking Congress for a loan, and not a hand-out. Employees will receive a 30-day “reduction-in-force” (RIF) notice by July 2 for the furlough to begin August 3, but the the USCIS will likely extend the furlough in 30-day increments until Congress approves a $1.2 billion cash injection. If Senator Leahy’s statement is accurate, what is then the reason for this furlough? Plunging revenue from immigration fees nearly forced U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will furlough you for more than 30 continuous calendar days, in a non-duty and non-pay … That will negatively impact all sorts of cases. USCIS has just made an announcement to its staff and external stakeholders that the administrative staff furlough which was scheduled to begin on August 30, 2020 has been cancelled and the current USCIS staffing levels would remain unchanged. Due to a dramatic decrease in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, roughly 13,400 U.S. Additionally, USCIS already alerted the federal union of the looming furloughs. In the meantime, USCIS furloughs on August 30 remain a possibility. USCIS had previously pushed back the anticipated furlough in August and now has cancelled it altogether, with the expectation of being able to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year 2020. Recently, USCIS announced that it will cancel the agency’s planned furlough of more than 13,000 employees, which was scheduled to take place on August 30, 2020, to help the agency meet its budget quotas and ensure operational capacity.. On August 25 th USCIS made the announcement stating that as of now the … Sens. Federal agencies are required by law to give employees 30 days of advance notice in writing before the expected date of a furlough. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D – Vt. just announced that USCIS has agreed to postpone the furloughs of more than 13,000 USCIS employees from August 3 until August 31. That’s days after federal unemployment benefits, which provide $600 a week on top of what states pay out, are set to expire absent … Aggressive spending reduction measures will impact all agency operations, including naturalizations, and will drastically impact agency contracts. She also wants you to know she can beat you at 80s music trivia. 8/25/2020 Update: USCIS Averts Furlough of Nearly 70% of Workforce I pause for a moment to thank all USCIS employees who are at work today. It does look like the biggest impact of the challenges facing the Service will be longer processing times. U.S. Most importantly, the agency is asking Congress for a loan, and not a hand-out. In May, USCIS sought $1.2 billion from Congress to keep the agency afloat. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) alerted its federal employees that furloughs are coming July 20 because of a big budget shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Atty. Leave it to the pros to seek out the right legal services for the case. The U.S. The sponsors of the bill described the bill as a triple win, meaning that the USCIS gets additional revenue that would prevent immediate furloughs, premium processing applicants get … In a note to employees Tuesday, Joesph Edlow, deputy director for policy at USCIS… Copyright - 2020 Park Firm | All Rights Reserved Privacy and Data Protection Policy, Are USCIS Furloughs Still Coming? Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has warned that it faces a budget shortfall and intends to furlough 13,000 of its 18,700 staff at the end of this month. The decision temporarily averts a major slowdown of the U.S. immigration system. If Congress does not pass emergency funding, U.S. Furloughs, as an austerity tactic, are not uncommon; however, the pending furlough is administrative, meaning it is planned and designed by the federal government. But the fee-funded agency has recently brought in $800 million more than it projected, leaving some lawmakers to say a furlough is unnecessary, with or without a bill from Congress. The furlough should not impact the ability to file applications and petitions with USCIS, meaning employees can obtain protection based upon timely-filed extensions. This can be a mistake—there’s no need to buttress the evidence on issues USCIS didn’t challenge in the RFE! Petitioning organizations seeking H-1B and L-1 visas, which have formed the backbone of the business immigration world for several years now, are faced with doubts as to the predictability in processing of these categories in the short term. A number of my legal colleagues outside of BAL have told me that when the going gets rough, they ask applicants and representatives of the petitioning organization to handle logistics! USCIS said furloughs would begin on Aug. 3. The planned furlough of 70% of USCIS workers would bring USCIS to operations to a standstill halt and leave U.S. employers, foreign workers, and families in limbo. Interviews of visa applicants before immigration offices will also be delayed if not suspended during the furlough. What does this mean? Though I may criticize your results, the very fact of working deserves credit. But for this specific […] The latest news is that the furlough scheduled for August 30, 2020 has been suspended because USCIS expects to be able to maintain operations through FY2020—but then what? What a USCIS furlough would mean for employers and foreign nationals. Once USCIS employees are furloughed, the amount of approved applications going to NVC will dramatically decrease, which means after a few months NVC will also have to furlough their employees since their expenses will outweigh the revenue they’d normally generate through charging for … Furlough means – temporarily not going to report to work or get paid, but still retaining benefits. Well, as it turns, the agency is facing a furlough due to Covid. Beginning in April, the Trump administration postponed asylum hearings for immigrants and froze the issuance of a broad range of visas, citing the need to protect American jobs. It is a fee-for-service organization, meaning it relies on the revenue it collects through work like visitor petitions and citizenship applications, for example, to keep the agency running. They say USCIS has enough carryover funds to avoid furloughs at the end of the month. Beginning August 31, 2020, USCIS will operate with only one-third of its usual staff. USCIS cancels plans to furlough staff, that would have frozen the American immigration system 26 Aug, 2020, 12.34 PM IST. Many of my clients received RFEs where the response is due in 87 days as expected, but, for a limited time only, USCIS is allowing an additional 60 days to respond to certain requests. But for this specific year, USCIS claims that because of COVID-19, there were less revenues received resulting in a budget shortfall. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin maintain USCIS's fiscal problems are a direct consequence of the Trump Administration's efforts to restrict immigration. What Happens Now to H-1B and Other Processing Times? Category: Updates, The new citizenship civic and history test that was recently released and became…, The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due…, The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established to provide temporary…, What USCIS Employees’ Furlough Mean to Visa Applicants, Site by Pixelhub - Custom Web Design and Development, FAQs on the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act. As a result of this impending furlough, several immigration related petitions and applications will be affected which includes among others: While these applications and petitions may still be filed, the fact that USCIS is operating with a skeletal staff means more delays in the adjudication process. While I also know that some businesses are of the mindset that premium processing just means that an RFE comes more quickly (given the rise in RFEs in 2019), it’s still important to understand the business immigration landscape in 2020 before dismissing the idea of premium processing a case because it may lead to an RFE. Furloughs and higher fees almost certainly seem to be on the agenda, with the service’s for-profit structure leaving it unequipped to handle the visa freeze instituted by President Trump’s June executive order (likely causing a reduction in petitions filed for employees outside the US who require visas to enter). For instance, in H-1B applications, specialty occupation is one of the most common challenges—USCIS will say they don’t believe the position requires a Bachelor’s degree. A lot of attorneys, especially those who cut their business immigration teeth in the Trump era, have a tendency to pull out all the stops on the RFE response. 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