Imagility News

H-1B Visa Holders Urged to Act Swiftly as U.S. Government Shutdown is Temporarily Avoided, Advises Immigration Lawyers

President Biden Signs Short-Term Spending Bill, Extending Government Funding to November 17, 2023; Immigration Lawyers Advise Swift Action, Especially for H-1B Visa Holders

Following President Biden’s approval of a short-term spending bill to avert a government shutdown, funds are secured until November 17, 2023. Despite this temporary reprieve, uncertainties linger, with Congress setting the new shutdown deadline.

Immigration attorneys are cautioning individuals, particularly H-1B visa holders, to act promptly. Recommendations include filing H-1B cap second lottery selections by the end of October and addressing other immigration-related filings like H-1B extensions.

In an interview with TOI, immigration attorney Robert Webber provides guidance for H-1B visa holders. He emphasizes the importance of accepting new job offers swiftly, allowing time for the new employer to file and obtain approval for the Labor Condition Application (LCA) before November 17. In the event of a shutdown, crucial immigration-related functions conducted by the Department of Labor (DOL) would be suspended, affecting processes like LCA processing, permanent labor certification, and prevailing wage determination.

US employers sponsoring H-1B employees are mandated to secure a prevailing wage rate, and this involves filing an LCA at the DOL’s processing center. Employers can only proceed with the H-1B visa process if they have certified LCAs. While the USCIS handles visa application processing and is less impacted by shutdowns, the initial formalities at the DOL must be completed before approaching the USCIS.

Cyrus D. Mehta, a New York-based immigration attorney, underscores that a shutdown at the DOL would halt processing for all applications, impacting foreign workers’ ability to stay in nonimmigrant status. Mehta also notes that it would affect employers filing timely H-1B status extensions with the USCIS.

To navigate potential disruptions caused by future shutdowns, Webber advises sponsoring companies to file LCAs for expirations through mid-May. For H-1Bs expiring after mid-May 2024, LCAs can be filed earlier, helping manage risks, especially for H-1B workers with spouses on dependent visas.

As government funding is secured for the time being, individuals and employers are urged to act swiftly to ensure smooth immigration processes and mitigate potential disruptions from future shutdowns.

Source: Economic Times