News & Articles

Department of Labor Operations during the Government Shutdown

Published on January 8, 2019

As the government shutdown continues, non-fee based agencies, such as the Department of Labor (DOL), will continue to see a strain on operations impacting immigration petitions and processes. As a fee-based agency, USCIS will not likely be affected by the shutdown.

Although DOL states on its webpage that all departments are open during the shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), which is responsible for operating the  iCERT system (, an online portal used by employers to submit nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions, has been experiencing difficulties and delays. While DOL explained that the recent iCERT processing difficulties were due to the increase in applications for temporary non-agricultural workers (H-2B), whether the government shutdown has or will impacted the agency’s recovery process is uncertain.

The iCERT system has been functional since January 7th, after being down since January 1st of the new year. According to the DOL, all forms and processes should now be available.

Given the uncertainties around the government shutdown, it is imperative that employers initiate labor certifications and temporary work visa petitions that require DOL processing as early as possible to account for potential delays in processing times.

The immigration attorneys at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland will continue to monitor and provide updates on DOL processing and the impact of the shutdown on immigration petitions, including PERM labor certifications and H-1B petitions.


Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at [email protected].
Jen Chen can be reached at [email protected].
Cody Nunn can be reached at [email protected].
Amy Royalty can be reached at [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at [email protected].
Janet Cheetham can be reached at [email protected].

This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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