USCIS Cancels Plans to Furlough Two-Thirds of Workforce

August 25, 2020 Sara Herbek

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on August 25 that it will abandon plans to furlough roughly two-thirds of its workforce due to a budget shortfall. The decision temporarily averts a major slowdown of the U.S. immigration system.

What Happened?

USCIS announced that it will no longer move forward with a plan to furlough over 13,000 of its employees on August 30 due to budgetary concerns. The agency initially cited a drop in the number of applications and the resulting decrease in revenue from fees during the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the budget shortfall, and said that without $1.2 billion in emergency funding from Congress, a furlough would be required.

The agency was able to temporarily avoid the furlough due to a moderate increase in daily revenue and by taking significant measures to reduce operational spending and reevaluate federal contracts.

What does this mean?

Although the move prevents a more significant slowdown in the processing of applications for green cards, work permits, U.S. citizenship and other immigration benefits, USCIS noted that the new spending cuts will still result in increased wait times for applicants and longer case processing times.

These measures will allow USCIS to operate until September 30, but the agency said that without emergency funding from Congress, a future furlough remains a possibility.

What happens next?

Several bills have been introduced in Congress to provide USCIS with financial relief, but negotiations remain stalled. The House of Representatives passed a bill that grants emergency funding for the agency this weekend, but it has yet to pass the Senate. 

How are Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) responding?

Envoy and GIA are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to do so, providing relevant updates when they are available.

What do I need to do next?

Clients with specific questions about this announcement should reach out to their legal team via the Envoy Communication Center.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.  

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional. 


About the Author

As Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, Sara is responsible for all legal service delivery at the firm. She and the firm’s robust team of attorneys and paralegals represent multinational corporations in a wide range of industries.

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