DOL Quarterly Performance Report and Teleconferences on 05/08/2009, 05/20/2009

On May 8 and 20, 2009, the Department of Labor (DOL) held stakeholder teleconferences with representatives from NAFSA and other associations (AILA, ACIP, and the American Bar Association). See the attached "DOL Quarterly Performance Report 03/31/2009; Summary of Teleconferences on 05/08/2009, 05/20/2009," which includes a summary of DOL's responses to NAFSA's pre-submitted questions regarding:

  • iCERT
  • Future for Prevailing Wage Determinations
  • Lost Audit Responses
  • Training Issues
  • Pay Reduction and Furloughs

See below for a summary of the other updates from the teleconferences.

DOL Quarterly Performance Report 03/31/2009

Report Highlights:

  • DOL is still processing 100 percent of employer LCA for H-1B professional specialty temporary programs within seven days
  • Compared to the same quarter last year, the percentage of employer applications for PERM labor certifications resolved within six months of filing significantly decreased from 94 percent as of the Quarter Ending 03/31/08 to 11 percent as of the Quarter Ending 03/31/2009 due to the impact of increasing integrity activities in light of the declining economy and continued filings for positions where there are U.S. workers that require additional processing time.
    • Note: OFLC is currently developing baseline targets for an enhanced PERM performance measure and a new PERM integrity measure, scheduled for approval and implementation at the beginning of FY 2010.

PERM Processing Times (as of 04/30/2009)*

Case Type Priority Dates Being Processed Est. Processing Times
Final Reviews  November 2008
 5-6 months
Audits  September 2007
 18-19 months
Standard Appeals  June 2007
 22-23 months
Gov't Error Appeals  Current  Within 3 months

* For current PERM processing times:
See the "Performance Information" tab on the home page for the iCERT Portal.

If an employer has a case with a priority date outside these estimates, e-mail inquiries to [email protected]. In addition, please report any significant delays or issues to NAFSA leaders and staff through Report an Issue.

iCERT Portal for LCA Filings

During the first week of May, OFLC implemented a new release to take care of many of the prior issues reported:

  • Certified LCAs now have validity dates and signature on them.
  • The NAICS button now allows for scroll down.
  • The first box of the zip code field on the employer profile “Point of Contact Information” page no longer deletes the first digit of the zip code each time the page is reopened.
  • Case status search feature now works to show status (e.g., certified).
  • Regular cases no longer show as Chilean H-1B in a search

For other issues, OFLC has determined whether each functionality:

Needs additional work, e.g.

  • TARP question: H-1.A.3 has “N/A” as an option but 4 does not. DOL is reviewing; this is on a high priority action item list.

Is functioning according to requirements and how OFLC intended, although OFLC may look at in terms of usability or address by adding instructions in system or manual, or creating FAQs, e.g.

  • Associate Accounts
    • Generally, the “Associate Accounts” are working the way they are supposed to, although DOL is considering ways to make the accounts more flexible.
    • Associates permission tab/Permissions is forced rather than optional.
    • Note: the e-mail entered in the account set up is not used for correspondence regarding LCAs; the email that is on a specific LCA is.
  • Case search by Company name rather than HR contact
  • Printing Issues
    • When user prints, only gives first six pages of LCA, not instructions.
    • There is an option for user to select to print out the instruction pages with the LCA into the PDF. If not selected, the instruction pages won’t print. Note: the user can also access instructions after the fact.
    • When user prints the pdf version of the LCA and then go to save it, the file name prompt does not include the LCA identification number. The user will need the number in order to call up your LCA again.
  • User cannot withdraw an LCA through iCERT.
    • Note: if you click “void” or “exit” on page one, you can withdraw. But once you get beyond page one, you cannot withdraw.
    • After certification, you can only withdraw by sending an e-mail with the LCA as a scanned attachment to [email protected]. In the subject line put “Certified LCA Withdraw Request.” Provide the LCA number and explain why you are withdrawing the LCA.
  • Users cannot type directly into the SOC field.
    • iCERT was specifically designed to not allow the ad hoc entry of an SOC number; the user can only select those options available in the drop-down list, which is sortable by code number as well as name.
    • OFLC may develop a Q&A or update user manual so it is clear how the user can access SOC numbers to enter in the appropriate field. In addition, OFLC is considering some other functionality in the future, e.g., ability to “copy cases.”

See the iCERT Portal System For LCA And PERM Filings update Web page for more information.

For inquiries related to LCA or labor certifications, see also the NAFSA web page for Department of Labor Inquiries. 

DOL Quarterly Performance Report and Teleconferences on 05/08/2009, 05/20/20092009-07-07DOL Quarterly Performance Report and Teleconferences on 05/08/2009, 05/20/2009 pdf