Whether you are waiting on the approval for a renewal of an employer-sponsored work visa or hope to help your spouse or minor children enter the United States, waiting is often one of the most difficult parts of the immigration process. There can be many weeks between when someone submits an application or files a request and when they have a response.
Unfortunately for those waiting for the immigration of family members or hoping to change their own current residency status, the wait times for immigration application, status changes and interviews are likely going to increase substantially in the near future.
Budget shortfalls have led to massive employee furloughs
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) handles all major immigration and visa-related requests and paperwork. From verifying someone’s criminal background to coordinating biometric data collection and conducting interviews, every step of immigration flows through the USCIS.
Recently, due to a slowdown in immigration request processing because of closed offices and changes in policy, the collection of fees that are the lifeblood of the USCIS has dropped. In fact, the agency no longer has adequate revenue to support its staff of nearly 20,000 people. The USCIS has announced its intention to furlough 13,400 staff members at the end of August.
Fewer staff members will further slow down the immigration and reduce what fees the USCIS can collect. The number of applications and requests it can process each year will likely drop substantially. If this furlough moves forward, the reduction of USCIS staff by more than two-thirds will very likely result in longer wait times for every step of the immigration process.