The Bay Area has become one of the most sought after places in the country for people from overseas to go in the hopes of finding employment. For them to be successful in doing so, however, a work visa is required and the recent government shutdown has resulted in the indefinite stoppage of the processing of work visas. Many others who are awaiting renewal of expired work visas are unable to re-enter the United States because they do not have the proper documentation and are either counting on the shutdown ending soon or trying to find and contact a law firm in the United States that specializes in immigration cases.
The shutdown has affected countless foreign workers who are in the country legally and legitimately and whose livelihood – and future – are as uncertain as the end to the shutdown for which they are waiting. One of those workers is Paul Chamberlain, a computer engineer from Australia who has returned to his home country to wait for the shutdown to end so that he can renew his E3 visa, a work permit specifically for Australians working in specialty occupations. The purpose of an E3 visa as well as the Labor Condition Application with which it is associated is to ensure that the wages and working conditions of US workers are do not suffer any negative effects.
The visa is typically easy for Chamberlain to obtain but that is when all facets of the United States federal government are up and running. When the government is shutdown, getting that visa is of course impossible for him as it is for every other foreign individual seeking legitimate and legal work in the US by way of the proper channels and documentation. 2012 saw nearly 140,000 E3 visas issued to foreign workers. According to immigration attorney at San Francisco law firm McCown & Evans, government shutdowns do not typically affect immigration services. But there are scores of people either outside the US waiting to get back in and work or inside the US with an extension looming that they are uncertain will be implemented because of the shutdown.
Despite the fact that many immigration services remain in operation during the shutdown, there are still plenty that do not. Consulates in foreign countries process applications but only as long as funding remains available. That funding, like everything else government related during this shutdown, is uncertain. Many foreign workers, particularly in the technology sector may be forced to leave the US until the shutdown ends which of course is anyone’s guess. If you or someone you know is in need of counsel regarding immigration issues, the attorney at Lyttle Law Firm PLLC in Austin can help. Feel free to contact them at (512) 215-5225.