USCIS Begins Furloughing Employees Due to $1.2 Billion Budget Shortfalls
Facing massive budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, the USCIS began issuing furlough notices to employees last month, anticipating approximately 13,400 employees who will be without pay starting August 3rd. The Furlough will potentially last until October 1st, the start of the government’s new fiscal year. The USCIS, which relies primarily on funding from petition and application filing fees, requested emergency funding of $1.2 billion from Congress in May to keep agency operations afloat, which has not been granted. Since the start of the pandemic, the USCIS has reported a 50% drop in incoming immigration filing fees – meaning that the agency has likely been overstaffed, and the furlough may not actually trigger significant delays in processing times for filings. However, the USCIS has indicated likely adverse impact on ancillary offices such as the USCIS Ombudsman that do not collect fees from petitioners and applicants. We will provide clients with any updates on processing times once the furlough begins to take effect in early August.