PERM Updates all the Way from AILA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans!
I’m currently at the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) annual conference in New Orleans, LA! Yesterday a Department of Labor (DOL) open forum was held to discuss current PERM trends and updates. Here are some of the more important points:
- PERM processing time is fast! Currently you can receive a PERM labor certification approval in 2-3 months (in our office we have even seen approvals in as little as 1.5 months!). The DOL did state that it is unlikely these speedy processing times will be sustained for a long period of time. The reason? Increased PERM filings!
- Prevailing Wage Determinations are taking 80-90 days to process. The DOL stated that this time will not decrease any time soon. I will say that the 80-90 day processing time is an improvement from 120 days, which was the processing time at the beginning of this year.
- If your case is audited, it will add about 8 weeks to the process (8 weeks from the time of audit submission)
- Processing times for a Request for Reconsideration sent directly to the certifying officer after denial is taking 80-90 days to process.
- The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) is taking steps to address their backlog for pending PERM appeals. Currently, if your case is appealed to BALCA, you can expect about a 4 year wait for a decision on your case. BALCA has now increased its resources to aid with this backlog. To put this into perspective, in 2013 BALCA had 5,200 PERM appeals pending, 2014 -4,800, 2015 – 4,200, 2016- 3,600, and projected for 2017 – 3,000 PERM appeals pending. As you can see, BALCA’s backlog is improving, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
- DOL is looking into adding a filing fee for PERM. Currently, there are no filing fees to file a PERM application or to file the corresponding prevailing wage application. In addition, there are no filing fees to file a Request for Reconsideration or an appeal. This may change, but we don’t know when.
- The PERM sponsorship verification process has changed. Once a PERM application is filed, DOL asks the employer to submit an employment verification response to confirm that the employer is indeed sponsoring the foreign worker listed on the PERM application. Previously DOL allowed 7 days to respond; if a response was not received within 7 days, the DOL would not process your case. This 7 day period has now increased to 30 days, allowing an employer a more reasonable time to respond.
- PERM account: In order to file a PERM application, a PERM account will need to be created by the employer. Sounds easy, right? As you know, advertisements have to be placed prior to filing a PERM application. Those ads are only valid for 180 days. We cannot file your case through the online system if a PERM account has not been created. Account creation itself is easy, but the DOL has to approve that account after its employment verification has been completed. DOL stated that there is a backlog right now on employment verification for PERM accounts. DOL’s suggestion: Create the account early!
- Unfortunately, new PERM regulations are not a priority at this time and we won’t see a chance any time soon.