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 … It does seem that way. 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. 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. 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. And, if that were to happen, would premium processing remain available? Unless Congress steps in, 13,400 employees will be furloughed, including my husband. Furlough means – temporarily not going to report to work or get paid, but still retaining benefits. The same is true for RFE responses. 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 also wants you to know she can beat you at 80s music trivia. 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 … If Congress does not pass emergency funding, U.S. It will take an act of Congress for employees to receive back pay. But how long will this furlough be? Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to furlough roughly 13,400 of its 20,000 employees due to budget shortfalls. Unless Congress steps in, 13,400 employees will be furloughed, including my husband. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin maintain USCIS's fiscal problems are a direct consequence of the Trump Administration's efforts to restrict immigration. ... 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 U.S. U.S. Now cuts will come from its operations. 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. The deadline for the furloughs beginning to happen is August 3rd. 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 … 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. What Happens Now to H-1B and Other Processing Times? 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. It is unknown at this time whether the House bill will succeed in passing through the full Congress in order to become law. 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. Plunging revenue from immigration fees nearly forced U.S. She represents clients in various industries so that US employers can obtain the talent they need when they need it. He asked USCIS to reconsider its decision to furlough the 13,400 employees. Employers are facing numerous issues in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including remote work, temporary office closures, furloughs, and layoffs. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says it will have to furlough staff from July 20 if Congress fails to provide funding. You will receive information of next steps once this form is submitted. Though I may criticize your results, the very fact of working deserves credit. 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. They say USCIS has enough carryover funds to avoid furloughs at the end of the month. But for this specific […] 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. 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. 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. It does look like the biggest impact of the challenges facing the Service will be longer processing times. 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. 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. USCIS expects to be able to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year 2020. 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 … 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. In … In less than a week, 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. The USCIS already has issued furlough notices and plans to shut down operations within 30 days, unless Congress sends it about $1.1 billion. 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. 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. 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. 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. Some attorneys think an expert opinion letter that responds to specialty occupation and backs up the beneficiary’s qualifications for the role is best. 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. This provides plenty of time to coordinate an effective RFE response. Update on USCIS Budget: Furlough of Staff Averted But Delays Still Projected In May, U.S. 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. It comes down to three things: be quick, be effective, and think like a litigator. In his letter to DHS, Senator Leahy said that USCIS has consistently projected that it has a carryover balance even after this fiscal year. 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. She concentrates her practice on business immigration matters including nonimmigrant and immigrant visa issues, advising clients on every step of the process. 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. More, here. The agency was seeking $1.2 billion in emergency funding from the Congress to continue operations, failing which, it had planned to furlough … “Our workforce is the backbone of every USCIS accomplishment. The USCIS employees were given notice that the agency will furlough employees without pay until further notice. USCIS cancels plans to furlough staff, that would have frozen the American immigration system 26 Aug, 2020, 12.34 PM IST. U.S. Well, as it turns, the agency is facing a furlough due to Covid. Leave it to the pros to seek out the right legal services for the case. As a reminder, FY2020 ends on September 30, 2020, so the reprieve is temporary. 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 U.S. 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. A chat with Lynn O’Brien. 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). 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. For some clients, BAL is recommending Premium Processing of cases now, especially for any case where the employer or employee may not have time to wait several months for a decision. Update August 26, 2020: USCIS has called off the scheduled furlough. Most importantly, the agency is asking Congress for a loan, and not a hand-out. Learn more. 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 furlough was to include more than 13, 000 employees, or approximately 70% of the USCIS … 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. Federal agencies are required by law to give employees 30 days of advance notice in writing before the expected date of a furlough. USCIS said furloughs would begin on Aug. 3. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees will receive notice of administrative furlough … 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. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will furlough you for more than 30 continuous calendar days, in a non-duty and non-pay … Citizenship and Immigration Service staff for up to 3 months . 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. What I mean is, when preparing the different components of the response package, keep as much as you can in-house. According to USA Today, notices were already sent to 13,400 USCIS employees that they will be furloughed as of August 30, 2020. 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. USCIS employs nearly 20,000 nationally, meaning the furloughs cover two-thirds of the agency’s workforce. 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. To better understand the impact of a USCIS staff furlough, I interviewed Doug Rand, who worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House … If Congress does not pass emergency funding, U.S. Could it just be the administration’s policy decision to suspend immigration rather than a budget issue? One-stop-shops like Park can help streamline the process by providing their expertise on difficult RFE challenges, but the success story starts with attorneys collaborating with legal services vendors, not sending clients on fetch errands. It does seem that way. What a USCIS furlough would mean for employers and foreign nationals. The furlough of approximately 13,400 USCIS employees is likely to have an enormous negative impact on […] But for this specific year, USCIS claims that because of COVID-19, there were less revenues received resulting in a budget shortfall. In these dire straits, business immigration professionals have a strong incentive to accelerate processing times. This can be a mistake—there’s no need to buttress the evidence on issues USCIS didn’t challenge in the RFE! Most importantly, the agency is asking Congress for a loan, and not a hand-out. The furlough should not impact the ability to file applications and petitions with USCIS, meaning employees can obtain protection based upon timely-filed extensions. It’s going to be at least 30 days, but the USCIS may … We have great news for our readers. It maintains itself with fees. 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. It maintains itself with fees. 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! 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. Posted on December 23, 2020. In May, USCIS sought $1.2 billion from Congress to keep the agency afloat. 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. Latecomers may not be responded to until mid-2021. 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. The furlough of approximately 13,400 USCIS employees is likely to have an enormous negative impact on […] 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. But this can invite trouble. For those cases that do get hit with the RFE, COVID-19 seems to have been effective in widening the response window. 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. We appreciate you acting as civil servants, persevering to do your jobs even as furloughs have been… The decision temporarily averts a major slowdown of the U.S. immigration system. A USCIS spokesperson confirmed that furloughs are an option, but refused to specify how many employees could be affected. 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. Claiming a shortage in budget, USCIS made a decision to furlough two thirds of its employees until a budget is allocated by Congress. The U.S. Most USCIS operation costs are taken from fees that are paid by applicants or petitioner’s. So, USCIS seems to be in trouble this year. In the meantime, USCIS furloughs on August 30 remain a possibility. 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. Potential USCIS Furloughs Will Make Immigration Come to a Grinding Halt. U.S. Think like a litigator: The expert opinion letter brings me to my next point. 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. Interviews of visa applicants before immigration offices will also be delayed if not suspended during the furlough. Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to furlough over 13,000 employees at U.S. That’s days after federal unemployment benefits, which provide $600 a week on top of what states pay out, are set to expire absent … 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. furlough definition: 1. a period of time that a soldier, worker, or prisoner is allowed to be absent, especially to…. USCIS is planning to furlough over 13,000 employees on … 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. According to USA Today, notices were already sent to 13,400 USCIS employees that they will be furloughed as of August 30, 2020. Be quick: Do not dilly-dally when preparing the RFE response! 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. A $1.2 billion shortfall could mean furlough of 13,000 U.S. Personal note: it seems to me that USCIS … The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act and What USCIS Furloughs Could Mean for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations tweeted on August 18, 2020 that USCIS has sufficient funds to avoid furloughs. U.S. It’s temporary… and sometime in the future, the USCIS will pull them back in. Well, as it turns, the agency is facing a furlough due to Covid. Lourdes S. Tancinco is an immigrant advocate and legal counsel based in San Francisco CA. Beginning August 31, 2020, USCIS will operate with only one-third of its usual staff. 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. See update. Be effective: Try not to spread responsibility for the response too far. 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. “I regret to inform you that U.S. 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? To take control, we are seeing businesses utilizing premium processing where available. If Senator Leahy’s statement is accurate, what is then the reason for this furlough? Most USCIS operation costs are taken from fees that are paid by applicants or petitioner’s. Sens. 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! That last one might seem mysterious, but bear with me. 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. If USCIS fails to address the grave budget shortfall, the situation would get worse. USCIS is a self-sufficient agency, meaning it does not get money from the government. 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. 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). That will negatively impact all sorts of cases. Additionally, USCIS already alerted the federal union of the looming furloughs. 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. 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. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be putting 13,400 employees on indefinite furlough this summer. 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