WASHINGTON (AP) - The partial government shutdown has created yet another little-known consequence: high-skilled immigrant workers and the companies that employ them are in limbo.

Because the Labor Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification is closed, applications for job changes or new hires are on hold.

Laura Foote Reiff is an immigration attorney in Northern Virginia. She says contractors whose projects are frozen during the shutdown face the dilemma of whether to furlough or fire foreign workers.

Because of the conditions of the high-skilled visas, even furloughed foreign workers have to be paid. If a company fires a visa holder, that firm has to start a long hiring process over.

The Labor Department said Friday that it could not answer questions about the issue because of the shutdown.

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