Top 5 tips for HR Managers during the Government Shutdown

By on Oct 14, 2013 in Articles |

Immigration reform continues to have broad support in Congress but has been overshadowed by efforts to end the government shutdown.  Until additional government funding is appropriated, it seems unlikely that much progress will be made on other legislation pending the U.S. House of Representatives, including Immigration Reform.

Top 5 tips:

1.You may Continue to Hire and Sponsor Employees for Visas and Immigration

USCIS is self-funded by user fees, so USCIS offices will remain open and continue to accept and process visa and immigration cases during the shutdown.  Other Homeland Security agencies such as E-Verify, the on-line system which allows businesses to verify employment authorization of its new hires, however, is shut down because it is federally funded.

2. File H-1B Petitions Well in Advance and Be Prepared for Delays

The Department of Labor (DOL) has stopped accepting and processing Labor Condition Applications (LCA) filed by U.S. employers nationwide seeking to obtain H-1B visas for their foreign born professional employees.  The problem is that USCIS has expressly and repeatedly stated that it will not accept or process H-1B petitions filed without an LCA certified by DOL. USCIS is now considering whether to modify this rule.  Other visa classifications should be considered because other visas generally do not require processing by the U.S. Department of Labor.

3. Employees may Continue to Travel Internationally

The State Department has reported that it will continue to accept and process visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, so employees may continue to travel throughout the shut down

4. Prepare Employees for Delays in their Immigration Cases

The U.S. Department of Labor will not accept PERM Labor Certification Applications for filing until funding is restored.  Pending Applications will also not be processed until additional funding is received.  This is also true for Prevailing Wage Requests.  It is important to identify your employees who are in the first stages of their immigration case and prepare them for these Department of Labor delays.

5. Calendar Deadlines

Longer processing delays dictate that prudent HR managers calendar deadlines well in advance to ensure that employees maintain their status and work authorization, and to minimize the extra expense of “Premium Process” by USCIS.