02.04.16

Gardner Sends Letter to DOL Secretary Following Complaints About Visa Processing Delays

WASHINGTON – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today sent a letter to the Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez after Coloradans expressed they are experiencing massive processing delays impacting applicants to the H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B visa programs, which are critical to Colorado’s high-tech, agriculture, and tourism industries. 

The letter reads in full:

Dear Secretary Perez:

I write to request an expedited resolution to the processing delays currently impacting applicants to the H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B visa programs and inquire as to the technical reasons such delays continue at the Department of Labor (DOL).

Over the last several days, my office has received a marked increase in letters and phone calls from constituents experiencing significant delays in the processing time of their applications for H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B visas. These visas are critical to the high-tech, agriculture, and tourism industries throughout my state and the labor provided through these programs helps fuel Colorado’s economy. Delays in the processing of these visa applications is negatively impacting a wide range of industries and workers, from sheepherders to landscapers and hotel staff to programmers. 

On January 27, 2016, DOL issued a statement claiming that “performance issues” with the underlying infrastructure in the iCERT Visa Portal System are to blame for the delayed processing times, but no updates regarding this issue have been published on DOL’s website since that time. This lack of real-time information is unacceptable. Employers’ business models throughout Colorado and the country rely on the efficient processing of these visas and reliable information from DOL.

As DOL works to restore the regular processing of these visas, my constituents deserve an answer as to the reason for such delays in the first place. Has DOL experienced similar issues with its network infrastructure in the past? If so, how long did significant processing delays continue to impact applications after the network was fully operational again? What efforts has DOL taken to ensure that a situation like this does not happen again? And finally, when does DOL expect the current “network infrastructure” issues will be resolved?

I look forward to a speedy resolution to these processing delays and a prompt response to my questions. If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-5941.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-5941