U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that due to the decreased amount of petitions currently being filed, it is seeking federal funding of $1.2 billion to help offset the loss of revenue it usually receives through filing fees. USCIS attributes the reduction of petitions filed to COVID-19 policy which, among other things, resulted in many US employers being unable to hire or maintain employment for foreign nationals.

USCIS, which is self-funded, is set to send out notices to employees that there will be a reduction of workforce if Congress does not provide the emergency funding. USCIS and other federal agencies must give their employees at least 30 days advance notice before issuing a furlough. If it doesn’t receive additional funding from Congress, the agency would begin issuing furlough notices to employees on or before July 2, 2020 before an August 3 furlough date. It is expected that upwards of 15,000 employees will receive such notices which accounts for approximately 75% of the workforce.

The concern is that with the impending reduction in force, petitions that have already experienced significant delay due to changes in processing times will continue to be subject to further delays. These delays may affect employers’ ability to hire much needed temporary workers, workers and/or their employers who are petitioning for legal permanent status, and families who need work authorization or adjusting status within the US.

Harris Beach PLLC will continue to monitor the situation and will issue updates to this alert as information continues to become available.

Our Immigration Law Practice Group includes immigration attorneys that work across New York state in our Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester and Syracuse offices. Our immigration lawyers focus on strategies – including immigrant visas for permanent U.S. resident status and temporary visas for foreign nationals – to ensure that employers are able to hire, transfer, and retain the brightest and best non-U.S. talent.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.