USCIS Furlough Could Impact IT Firms
US visa applicants could be in for a long wait as the agency that administers the visa process is fast running out of funds.
The Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns in many parts of the US have halved receipts from visa applications and petitions, impacting the USCIS ability to function effectively.
The USCIS relies mainly on income from visa processing to run operations. Approximately 18,700 agency’s employees may be furloughed beginning July, the USCIS is believed to have informally told staff, according to a letter sent by Everett Kelley, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, to the US Senate and Congress.
USCIS has requested $1.2 billion in aid from the US Congress for a period of 2-years and proposes adding a 10% surcharge to immigration petitions that is expected to help compensate for funds already budgeted towards payroll and operational needs.
USCIS did not provide details on the exact number of employees who will be asked to go on leave without pay. These furloughs will extend processing times and create massive backlogs, effectively shutting down the immigration process.
Over the last 2-months, the USCIS has been accepting applications online but several people are withholding non-immigrant visas as well.