For going on three weeks now, the U.S. Department of State has been unable to issue visas of any kind due to a system hardware failure. This means that people trying to get permission to enter the United States to work, to perform, to be reunited with their family, or just to visit Disneyland are being told to come back later (not sure when) to have their consular appointments. Clearly this is a huge and costly inconvenience for individuals and companies.
The ever popular UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is an example of a company that has been adversely affected by this system failure. The UFC relies on and employs the best mixed martial arts fighters from all over the world, who come to the U.S. to participate in fight cards that are scheduled many months in advance. It has been reported that several popular fighters who were scheduled to appear on the next two fight cards have been replaced or have had their fights cancelled due to the fighters not being able to get the necessary visa to come to the U.S. and participate. Ultimately the UFC fight cards will end up a watered down version of the previous card, causing the UFC and the fighters who are losing the opportunity to fight a substantial amount of money. I would hate to be the consular officer who has to interview the UFC fighter when the system finally gets back up and running.
You might wonder how this could happen in a technologically advance country such as ours. Didn’t we have a backup system in place given the affect these problems have on the economy? Apparently there was a backup, but that too failed. Hmmm. I can’t help but think if congress would just raise the H1B cap, maybe, just maybe we would have exceptional computer programmers from India or another country who could make sure this didn’t happen in the first place, or at least if it did it could be fixed quickly. Here’s hoping this gets resolved quickly for the sake of my clients, companies and families throughout the world.