A USCIS spokesperson has announced that the agency is planning to furlough nearly 70% of its workforce as it faces budget shortfalls as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Since March, USCIS has seen a 50% drop in receipts and incoming fees and estimates that application and petition receipts will drop about 60% through the end of fiscal year 2020. Unless the agency receives additional funding from Congress, USCIS cannot continue to work at full capacity and will furlough its employees on starting on August 3.
USCIS is a for profit agency that uses application fees to fund the agency and its employees. At the current moment, there are approximately 20,000 USCIS officers that process and review visa and immigration applications. If 70% are furloughed, less than 6,600 agents will remain working at the agency. If Congress does not provide additional funding and the furlough happens, visa applicants should expect longer wait times for receipt and application processing as significantly less agents will be working to review applications.
Update on June 29, 2020: USCIS officers have began receiving furlough letters. Unless congress intervenes and injects more funds into USCIS, up to 70% of all UCSIS officers will be furloughed.
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