recommended reading

Shutdown Shuts Out Foreign Employees

jovan vitanovski/

Labor Department certification processing systems are unavailable due to the shutdown, a loss that bars certain employers from obtaining work authorizations for foreign hires, such as technology professionals, at a time when businesses already are hurting, according to immigration attorneys. Also, some visa holders are unable to extend their stays because they can’t file labor certifications for permanent residence on time.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification's Web portal is not accepting forms, called labor condition applications, that are required for H-1B worker visas. Specifically, the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system are down, and there have been reports that courier services, such as FedEx, have been unable to deliver paper copies to the Labor Department, according to an Oct. 4 American Immigration Lawyers Association bulletin. 

Essentially, overseas employees entitled to work in the United States cannot legally reside in America until their labor condition applications are processed. "Those cases are not moving," said Kathleen Campbell Walker, an El Paso-based immigration lawyer at Cox Smith. "I've got an upper level executive for a global company [who is] trying to come to the United States." 

Also, foreign workers lawfully in the United States who are in between two jobs can lose legal status because their new employers cannot submit the required Labor applications.

"We've got professors who are unable to go ahead and start work because you have to get the labor condition application approved first before you can file the H-1B," Walker said. Universities "can't tell the individual when they may be able to start” work, and consequently “staffing for courses may not be available,” she said.

"It's gumming up our legal system that's already messy to begin," she added. 

Over the weekend, immigrant advocates staged demonstrations urging Congress to act on legislation that would change the legal status of undocumented foreigners. The Senate already has approved comprehensive immigration reform. The House is reluctant to take up the measure or vote on any bill that would grant what many Republicans see as amnesty for the nearly 12 million immigrants in the United States illegally. 

Labor will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials, including labor condition applications, audit responses, applications for prevailing wage determination, applications for temporary employment certification, or applications for permanent employment certification, AILA officials said. 

Labor officials were not immediately able to respond to inquiries. 

(Image via jovan vitanovski/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.