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United States – Potential Immigration-Related Impact of Government Shut-down

United States – Potential Immigration-Related Impact

This report covers the potential effects of a U.S. government shut-down on immigration-related activities and processes.

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Several government agencies in the United States (U.S.) are only funded through December 21, 2018. Although the Senate recently passed a short-term spending bill, it is not certain that President Trump will sign it. Thus, the U.S. federal government is scheduled to partially shut down at midnight December 21, 2018.1 The situation continues to unfold as of this newsletter’s publication, so readers are advised to keep tabs on developments.

This GMS Flash Alert highlights the potential immigration-related effects of a U.S. federal government shut-down.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Employers and U.S. visa applicants should be aware of the potential consequences of a government shut-down, particularly as they relate to visa appointments and interviews at U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad. Employers enrolled in E-Verify should also be attentive to how the shut-down could impact the I-9 process.  

Potential Effects

To avoid a shut-down of the U.S. federal government on December 22, 2018, Congress must pass a long-term budget or at least a short-term funding measure. The Trump Administration has been seeking from Congress USD 5 billion in funding for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. This is proving difficult given how divided the Republicans and Democrats are on this issue. As of December 21, no agreement had been reached. The effects of a partial shut-down include: 

  • Full funding for the U.S. Department of Labor was passed in September, 2018, meaning that there should be no impact on Labor Condition Applications, Prevailing Wage Requests, or PERM labor certifications if a government shut-down occurs. This makes the potential U.S. government shut-down on December 22, 2018 far less ominous relative to previous shut-down threats.
  • Petitions/applications filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should not be impacted by a government shut-down because they are fee-based. There is, however, an outside chance that the current Administration could require USCIS to cease operations as part of a federal government shut-down.
  • Visa appointments and interviews scheduled at U.S. Consulates and Embassies should not be impacted immediately, so long as the applicable fees are sufficient to fund operations. If the shut-down continues long enough, there may not be adequate funding for the U.S. Department of State to continue visa services. All persons with a visa appointment or interview scheduled after December 21, 2018, should regularly visit the website of the relevant U.S. Consulate or Embassy for updates in this regard. 
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations should not be impacted, as CBP employees are typically considered to be “essential” government personnel. The current Administration could, however, try to limit the scope of CBP operations during a federal government shut-down, resulting in significant delays for travelers entering the United States. 
  • The E-Verify system would not be available during a U.S. government shut-down. In the event that a shut-down occurs, enrolled employers would have to complete E-Verify checks for any impacted employees once the federal government resumes operations and the E-Verify system is back online; and
  • Certain U.S. immigration programs would be suspended during a shut-down, including the EB-5 Regional Center program, the Conrad 30 waiver program, and the Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker program. 

KPMG Law LLP will continue to monitor developments relating to federal government funding and provide updates as they become available.

FOOTNOTE

1  For up-to-date information, please visit the government website of Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as well as Senator McConnell’s Twitter feed .  You may also follow the floor proceedings on the website for the U.S. Senate.

For a news-source, you may visit CNN, by clicking herePlease note the URL/link takes you to a 3rd-party non-governmental/non-KPMG website. Provision of this URL/link does not represent an endorsement of this site by KPMG LLP (U.S.) nor KPMG Law LLP Canada.

* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services.  However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.   


The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.

© 2020 KPMG LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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