US Government shutdown impacting on visa applicants

People hoping to emigrate to America in the near future could find themselves negatively affected by the US government shutdown.

According to US immigration attorney Beeraj Patel, the ongoing shutdown has locked immigration practitioners out of the online iCERT system, placing US immigration at a temporary standstill. iCERT is an online system that is used by immigration practitioners to submit Labour Condition Applications (LCAs) and Prevailing Wage Determinations, both of which are required for all H-1B visa applications.

Patel states that the lockout from iCERT could create a snowballing problem. “Without access to the iCERT system, many people will be in a compromising position,” he explained. “A long-running shutdown could mean that individuals could begin to fall out of status due to their inability to extend or change their visas. Furthermore, there is currently no way for practitioners to get proof of submission – the Department of Labour has not given us any alternatives to date.”

Patel believes that immigration attorneys need instructions on how to overcome this problem sooner rather than later, especially with no end to the shutdown in sight.

“I am hopeful that we will be given a way to generate LCA’s and continue PERM filing timelines or this situation will continue to worsen over time,” he said. “If we are given a method to keep people from falling out of status and to continue to file on time and without delays then we can all avoid a great deal of frustration and disappointment.”