Most USCIS operation costs are taken from fees that are paid by applicants or petitioner’s. That will negatively impact all sorts of cases. 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! It does seem that way. Federal agencies are required by law to give employees 30 days of advance notice in writing before the expected date of a furlough. 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. Cost Cutting Measures Means Fewer Contractors and Processing Delays For those cases that do get hit with the RFE, COVID-19 seems to have been effective in widening the response window. Think like a litigator: The expert opinion letter brings me to my next point. USCIS expects to be able to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year 2020. 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. Well, as it turns, the agency is facing a furlough due to Covid. It will take an act of Congress for employees to receive back pay. USCIS employees recently received a notice that around 2/3 of their staff are to be furloughed by August 30 of this year. 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 … Citizenship and Immigration Services to furlough more than two-thirds of its work force. 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. Most importantly, the agency is asking Congress for a loan, and not a hand-out. But this can invite trouble. USCIS 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 organization running. It is unknown at this time whether the House bill will succeed in passing through the full Congress in order to become law. Personal note: it seems to me that USCIS … Furloughs will likely impact processing times, resulting in an applications and petitions taking much longer to be adjudicated. Could it just be the administration’s policy decision to suspend immigration rather than a budget issue? 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. USCIS has just re-opened CAP, meaning there are additional H-1B visa slots at stake. USCIS Cancels Planned Furloughs. As a reminder, FY2020 ends on September 30, 2020, so the reprieve is temporary. Beginning August 31, 2020, USCIS will operate with only one-third of its usual staff. Even though the furlough has been averted through the end of September, people with current applications and petitions under review with USCIS should still expect delays in the process, as the USCIS may be forced to divert resources within their daily operations. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees will receive notice of administrative furlough … Layoffs: The employer may choose to discharge or lay off the employee, in which case the employer must offer to pay for reasonable costs of return transportation abroad for the discharged/laid-off worker. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices nationwide. 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. While there is bipartisan support in Congress to appropriate the money to avert the mass furlough, Maryland U.S. Sens. She also wants you to know she can beat you at 80s music trivia. “Our workforce is the backbone of every USCIS accomplishment. 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. A potential future furlough is still in the realm of possibilities but as of now the furlough that was at to begin Aug 30 2020 is now officially cancelled. According to USA Today, notices were already sent to 13,400 USCIS employees that they will be furloughed as of August 30, 2020. The decision temporarily averts a major slowdown of the U.S. immigration system. 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. 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. U.S. Potential USCIS Furloughs Will Make Immigration Come to a Grinding Halt. (Always check the USCIS website for updates.) As a reminder, FY2020 ends on September 30, 2020, so the reprieve is temporary. USCIS is planning to furlough over 13,000 employees on … USCIS cancels plans to furlough staff, that would have frozen the American immigration system 26 Aug, 2020, 12.34 PM IST. The agency was seeking $1.2 billion in emergency funding from the Congress to continue operations, failing which, it had planned to furlough … If Senator Leahy’s statement is accurate, what is then the reason for this furlough? By submitting this form, you agree and understand that all information contained in this appointment form will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL and will not be released without your permission; also, that submission or having a consultation with any of our attorneys does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It is expected that about two-thirds of the USCIS employees will be furloughed until America reopens for immigrants. 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. That’s days after federal unemployment benefits, which provide $600 a week on top of what states pay out, are set to expire absent … 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. In less than a week, U.S. Well, as it turns, the agency is facing a furlough due to Covid. ... Furloughs, as an austerity tactic, are not uncommon; however, the pending furlough is administrative, meaning it is planned and designed by the federal government. The USCIS already has issued furlough notices and plans to shut down operations within 30 days, unless Congress sends it about $1.1 billion. 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. 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. U.S. 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. Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to furlough over 13,000 employees at U.S. A chat with Lynn O’Brien. You do not offer information. Businesses want to make sure their applications are at the top of the stack because at the very least, USCIS’ problems typically translate into slower processing times. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will furlough you for more than 30 continuous calendar days, in a non-duty and non-pay … Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) made a similar argument to the agency, as well. Permanent residents needing to renew or replace their green cards; Applicants for employment authorization documents; DACA applicants seeking renewals of their deferred action and EADS; U.S. citizens and permanent resident petitioning their families; Applicants for adjustment of status, and. U.S. Now cuts will come from its operations. 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. What Happens Now to H-1B and Other Processing Times? The furlough of approximately 13,400 USCIS employees is likely to have an enormous negative impact on […] It’s temporary… and sometime in the future, the USCIS will pull them back in. USCIS is a self-sufficient agency, meaning it does not get money from the government. The furlough will go into effect on August 3, 2020 unless Congress and the President take action to provide emergency funding for USCIS to continue operations at its present level. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is dependent on fees from new immigration applications for its … To take control, we are seeing businesses utilizing premium processing where available. 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. For instance, when dealing with difficult RFEs, the expert opinion letter is a key component to the response, and the complexity of these documents is usually lost on worried applicants and bottom-line-driven petitioners. It’s going to be at least 30 days, but the USCIS may … 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. But how long will this furlough be? As hurricane season heats up, many in the business immigration world are beginning to wonder if USCIS will be able to weather its own stormy outlook. USCIS has just re-opened CAP, meaning there are additional H-1B visa slots at stake. This provides plenty of time to coordinate an effective RFE response. In these dire straits, business immigration professionals have a strong incentive to accelerate processing times. 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. According to USA Today, notices were already sent to 13,400 USCIS employees that they will be furloughed as of August 30, 2020. It will take an act of Congress for employees to receive back pay. Wasting time on the RFE response will shove your application straight to the bottom of the pile, potentially missing out on a wider approval window. 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. She represents clients in various industries so that US employers can obtain the talent they need when they need it. The furlough was to include more than 13, 000 employees, or approximately 70% of the USCIS … The U.S. That date was later pushed to the end of the month. The furlough should not impact the ability to file applications and petitions with USCIS, meaning employees can obtain protection based upon timely-filed extensions. He asked USCIS to reconsider its decision to furlough the 13,400 employees. 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! 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. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin maintain USCIS's fiscal problems are a direct consequence of the Trump Administration's efforts to restrict immigration. Learn more. (Atty. furlough definition: 1. a period of time that a soldier, worker, or prisoner is allowed to be absent, especially to…. Lynn O’Brien is a Senior Associate Attorney in the Northern Virginia office of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Lourdes S. Tancinco is an immigrant advocate and legal counsel based in San Francisco CA. Update on USCIS Budget: Furlough of Staff Averted But Delays Still Projected In May, U.S. It does look like the biggest impact of the challenges facing the Service will be longer processing times. The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act and What USCIS Furloughs Could Mean for U.S. Some attorneys think an expert opinion letter that responds to specialty occupation and backs up the beneficiary’s qualifications for the role is best. Beginning August 31, 2020, USCIS will operate with only one-third of its usual staff. USCIS employs nearly 20,000 nationally, meaning the furloughs cover two-thirds of the agency’s workforce. 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. USCIS must give employees a 30-day notice of an expected furlough. In … Unless Congress steps in, 13,400 employees will be furloughed, including my husband. 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. Due to a dramatic decrease in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, roughly 13,400 U.S. Category: Updates, In view of the coronavirus surge in California and the mandatory stay at…, Posted on December 22, 2020. 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 does this mean? A USCIS spokesperson confirmed that furloughs are an option, but refused to specify how many employees could be affected. However, that doesn’t mean AILA should take the pressure off to ensure that Congress hold USCIS … “I regret to inform you that U.S. Furlough means – temporarily not going to report to work or get paid, but still retaining benefits. For this post, Park sat down with Lynn O’Brien, Senior Associate Attorney at Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, to discuss the best practices firms can apply this year to accelerate processing times. Aggressive spending reduction measures will impact all agency operations, including naturalizations, and will drastically impact agency contracts. Unless Congress steps in, 13,400 employees will be furloughed, including my husband. Most USCIS operation costs are taken from fees that are paid by applicants or petitioner’s. After initially reporting a deficit and announcing it would furlough of about two thirds of its staff, USCIS was recently revealed to actually be facing a budget surplus going into the final months of the current fiscal year, meaning the agency would likely be able to cover costs through September. Be effective: Try not to spread responsibility for the response too far. 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. 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. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to furlough roughly 13,400 of its 20,000 employees due to budget shortfalls. USCIS previously planned to begin furloughs August 3 but pushed the date to August 30 following assurances from Congress and an uptick in application and petition receipts, the agency said. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be putting 13,400 employees on indefinite furlough this summer. U.S. In a note to employees Tuesday, Joesph Edlow, deputy director for policy at USCIS… Most importantly, the agency is asking Congress for a loan, and not a hand-out. 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. Claiming a shortage in budget, USCIS made a decision to furlough two thirds of its employees until a budget is allocated by Congress. In his letter to DHS, Senator Leahy said that USCIS has consistently projected that it has a carryover balance even after this fiscal year. 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. Your appointment is not final until confirmed with you via call or email by Tancinco Law Offices, and until appointment fee of $150 is made via Paypal or credit card. What I mean is, when preparing the different components of the response package, keep as much as you can in-house. Thousands of staffers were notified in July that decreased revenue from the COVID-19 office closures would mean furloughs on Aug. 3. 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? USCIS didn’t provide the number of employees affected, but Fox News is told that agency leaders informed some staff that the furloughs could impact about 13,000 employees, or more than two-thirds of the workforce, according to a source familiar with the meeting. Be quick: Do not dilly-dally when preparing the RFE response! Anyone who has practiced in defense litigation knows that when you have to put a client on the stand, you coach them to answer only the question asked. USCIS is a self-sufficient agency, meaning it does not get money from the government. A $1.2 billion shortfall could mean furlough of 13,000 U.S. She concentrates her practice on business immigration matters including nonimmigrant and immigrant visa issues, advising clients on every step of the process. This can be a mistake—there’s no need to buttress the evidence on issues USCIS didn’t challenge in the RFE! Interviews of visa applicants before immigration offices will also be delayed if not suspended during the furlough. 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. See update. Federal law dictates that agencies must give employees 30 days notice before a furlough; by July 2 USCIS sent all its notices out, informing employees that Aug. 3 was the furlough’s target date. Update August 26, 2020: USCIS has called off the scheduled furlough. If Congress does not pass emergency funding, U.S. Though I may criticize your results, the very fact of working deserves credit. Update July 24, 2020: USCIS has announced that they have agreed to delay the start of the staff furlough until August 31st (from August 3) due to funding estimates showing surplus for the fiscal year and not the previously-projected $571 million deficit. 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. It’s no surprise that she has spoken on topics including best practices for responding to Requests For Evidence since she loves the art of arguing with the government. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations tweeted on August 18, 2020 that USCIS has sufficient funds to avoid furloughs. A furlough is a period during which a worker is not working anymore and is unpaid. 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. 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. More, here. Latecomers may not be responded to until mid-2021. In the meantime, USCIS furloughs on August 30 remain a possibility. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says it will have to furlough staff from July 20 if Congress fails to provide funding. Sens. And, if that were to happen, would premium processing remain available? Posted on December 23, 2020. These issues may have particular implications for U.S. employees holding H-1B specialty occupation visas, as they are typically required to remain productive in order to maintain their legal status. 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. 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. But for this specific year, USCIS claims that because of COVID-19, there were less revenues received resulting in a budget shortfall. It maintains itself with fees. It comes down to three things: be quick, be effective, and think like a litigator. 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. 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. The worker is still retaining his/her job as the employment will continue, but the furlough means that they are not working for their employers anymore and are not being paid. 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. 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. So, USCIS seems to be in trouble this year. Leave it to the pros to seek out the right legal services for the case. The union that represents thousands of USCIS staff was notified on 26 May that approximately 10,800 bargaining employees could face furloughs lasting more than 30 days, according to a letter obtained by CBS News. Additionally, USCIS already alerted the federal union of the looming furloughs. You will receive information of next steps once this form is submitted. 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. 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. 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. Plunging revenue from immigration fees nearly forced U.S. They say USCIS has enough carryover funds to avoid furloughs at the end of the month. The deadline for the furloughs beginning to happen is August 3rd. That last one might seem mysterious, but bear with me. But for this specific […] The agency was requesting Congress for a $1.2 billion bailout through the coronavirus emergency package which unfortunately was never passed into law. 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. 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. 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? The USCIS employees were given notice that the agency will furlough employees without pay until further notice. 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 … USCIS Ombudsman’s Office announced that the furloughs will mean that while the office will continue to take in cases, they will be severely delayed. Wasting time on the RFE response will shove your application straight to the bottom of the pile, potentially missing out on a wider approval window. To better understand the impact of a USCIS staff furlough, I interviewed Doug Rand, who worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House … 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 … We have great news for our readers. 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 … Revenues received resulting in an applications and petitions taking much longer to be adjudicated not... 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