USCIS Employee Furlough Could be Coming

The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is set to furlough as many as 13,400 of its 20,000 employees as soon as 3 August.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is set to furlough as many as 13,400 of its 20,000 employees as soon as 3 August, citing a budget deficit over $1 billion. This move comes as President Trump released his immigration proclamation that strictly limits certain new immigrant and non-immigrant visas abroad through the end of this year.

The USCIS first announced its plans to furlough employees in late June, citing the agency’s budget deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also notifying Congress of its plans to request emergency funding of $1.2 billion. The agency has seen a 50% drop in receipts and incoming fees starting in March. The USCIS indicated its intention to repay the emergency funding by placing a 10% surcharge on all visa applications. While a formal budget request has yet to be submitted, the pending request was supported by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security.

Unless Congress steps in to allocate emergency funding, the furloughs will officially take place by 3 August. By law, federal agencies like USCIS must provide employees a 30-day advance notice of furlough. In a statement to CBS News, deputy director for policy at USCIS Joseph Edlow stated that furloughs would leave the agency “with a skeleton crew that will make it difficult to sustain our critical mission of administering our nation’s lawful immigration system.”

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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. Along with President Trump’s recent immigration proclamation, this development is another impediment to gaining access to talent needed for businesses economic recovery. Worldwide ERC® will continue to provide updates as this matter develops, and should any member have questions regarding USCIS, please reach out to our Vice President of Government Affairs, Rebecca Peters at