USCIS Delays Scheduled Furlough of 13,400 Employees

The scheduled furlough of over 13,000 employees of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was delayed until 31 August

On Friday, 24 July, Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Jon Tester of Montana announced that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agreed to postpone its scheduled furlough of over 13,000 employees from 3 August until 31 August.

The USCIS was set to furlough as many as 13,400 of its 20,000 employees due to a budget deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a 50% drop in filing receipts and incoming fees. It notified Congress of its intention to request emergency funding of $1.2 billion and its plans to repay the emergency funding by placing a 10% surcharge on all visa applications, which were supported by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security.

Senator Leahy, whose home state of Vermont experienced 1,109 USCIS employee furlough notices, announced that they called on Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow to reverse course after finding new revenue estimates.

According to Leahy’s press release, they showed the agency “ending the fiscal year in a surplus, and not the previously projected $571 million deficit.” The furloughs were set to become effective 3 August. Leahy was given assurance on 24 July from USCIS Acting Director Joseph Edlow that the furloughs would be delayed, providing relief to the thousands of employees who ensure visa application processes that are critical to workforce mobility.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The USCIS’ role in processing visa applications and petitions is a crucial component to global workforce mobility for immigration in the United States. Along with President Trump’s recent immigration proclamation, the intended furloughs would have been another impediment to gaining access to talent needed for businesses economic recovery. Worldwide ERC® will continue to provide updates as this matter develops. Should any member have questions regarding USCIS, please reach out to our Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters at