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UPDATED: Immigration Implications of UAW Strike and Potential Government Shutdown

October 2, 2023

UPDATED ON OCTOBER 2, 2023: Late Saturday, September 30, 2023, Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed, a 45-day bill that will fund the federal government through November 17, 2023. With the passage of the bill, the agencies discussed in this writing remain funded, and will continue processing immigration-related matters.  The Miller Canfield immigration team will continue to monitor this matter as the November 17, 2023, funding expiration date approaches. 

Employers in the automotive industry should be aware of the impact the United Auto Workers strike could have on its employees with immigration considerations. A federal government shutdown is also likely, which could impact an employer’s foreign national employees.

United Auto Workers Strike

The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced a strike at the “Detroit Three” automakers (General Motors, Ford, Stellantis) on September 15, 2023, which has continued to expand as of the date of this writing. Although the strike impacts only certain employees, there may be potential impacts on an employer’s foreign national workers. The nature and extent of this impact depends on factors such the foreign worker’s immigration status, position, and location of employment. With that in mind, employers should consider the following potential impacts a strike may have on its foreign national employees:  

While the UAW strike may not apply to all or some of an employer’s foreign national workers, there are certain situations where a strike could have an impact, as described above. Further, if an employer finds it necessary to layoff, reduce working hours, or terminate a foreign national worker due to the ongoing strike, such actions could raise unique considerations specific to a foreign national worker that an employer will need to consider. Employers should begin assessing these impacts now.

Federal Government Shutdown

As of the date of this writing, Congress has not passed the appropriate spending bills to keep the federal government open beyond September 30, 2023. Unless these bills are passed, some government agencies will shut down on October 1, 2023.

Immigration case processing involves several federal agencies. Below is a breakdown of how each agency will be impacted in the event of government shutdown:

Due to the potential impacts on immigration case processing in the event of government shutdown, employers should contact legal counsel to discuss how the potential shutdown could impact its new or ongoing immigration matters and foreign national workforce.


The ongoing strike and potential government shutdown may present unique immigration-related implications for employers and may have a major impact on an employer’s foreign national employee population. 

Please contact your Miller Canfield attorney or one of the authors of this alert if you wish to further discuss how any of these matters affect your organization. This information is based on the facts and guidance available at the time of publication and may change.