US shutdown affects immigration applicants
The argument between the United States’ squabbling political parties has not only led to the closure of museums, national parks and other federal government institutions but is also having an impact on immigrants to the country.
The federal shutdown has caused the closure of a government programme known as E-Verify; a programme which checks whether employees are authorised to work in the country. The ongoing political argument over budget cuts has meant that the E-Verify programme has been out of action for a week and a backlog of expats and wannabe workers is building up.
Fortunately the departments that handle VISA and passports processing is still in action as they are handled by the self-funded Department of Labour. A spokesman for the Labour department said it will continue to process VISA applications and all consulates will stay open, but their operations may see a slowdown in processing times due to certain buildings being affected by the government shutdown.
Expats in the United States hoping to get work will be the worst affected, but due to the bureaucratic process regarding the handing out of passports and VISAs, applicants are likely to experience delays as many different government departments are involved in the process, some of which are likely to be impacted the shutdown.
One good thing to come from the shutdown for tourists and expats alike is the softening of the US Dollar exchange rate. As fears grow that Congress will not be able to negotiate a deal, the US currency has come under heavy pressure as investors look elsewhere for safer assets. As a result the ‘Greenback’ is trading down against the majority of its peers.