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Quick Hits

  • A recently enacted stopgap funding measure has allowed the government to continue operations, including immigration services, through November 17, 2023.
  • If Congress cannot reach an agreement to fund the federal government before November 17, 2023, a partial government shutdown may occur.
  • A government shutdown would disrupt federal agencies that are responsible for immigration-related services and benefits. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a fee-generating agency; during past government shutdowns, USCIS offices generally continued to operate.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is not fee generating, and, consequently, the department’s operations were significantly hindered during previous government shutdowns. As a result, any immigration petition that requires a DOL pre-filing will likely be impacted.

The most significant business immigration impacts of a government shutdown on U.S. employers may include:

  • the DOL taking the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system offline, resulting in a suspension of new labor condition applications (LCAs) that are required for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrant petitions;
    • a DOL suspension of PERM labor certifications and prevailing wage determinations (PWD), which would further extend already lengthy PERM and PWD processing times; and
    • possible visa processing delays at U.S. consulates. While the U.S. Department of State is partially funded by visa application fees, it is possible that nonemergency services could be suspended during a prolonged shutdown.

Next Steps

While Congress temporarily averted a government shutdown, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have not reached an agreement on an appropriations bill to fund the federal government through the entirety of fiscal year (FY) 2024. The risk of a government shutdown remains if Congress is not able to resolve spending and policy disagreements prior to November 17, 2023.

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments and provide updates on the Governmental Affairs and Immigration blogs.

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Governmental Affairs

Ogletree Governmental Affairs, Inc. (OGA), a subsidiary of Ogletree Deakins, is a full service legislative and regulatory affairs consulting firm, dedicated to helping clients solve their problems with the public sector. OGA unites the skills and experience of government relations professionals with the talent of the Firm’s lawyers to provide solutions to regulatory issues outside the courtroom.

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Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the United States and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees.

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