On February 3, 2009, the Department of Labor (DOL) held its Quarterly Stakeholders Meeting with representatives from NAFSA and other associations (AILA, ACIP, and the American Bar Association). At the meeting, DOL provided the attached "Permanent Labor Certification Program - Selected Statistics, FY 2009" and other updates summarized below.

On February 4 and 9, DOL also held public briefings regarding the new forms and iCERT. See the Web page iCERT Portal System for handouts from the briefings, including drafts of the new forms ETA-9035 and ETA-9089.

PERM Processing Times (as of 12/31/2008)

Case Type Priority Dates Being Processed Est. Processing Times
Final Reviews June 2008 Approx. 6 months
Audits August 2007 Approx. 16 months
Standard Appeals April 2007 Approx. 20 months
Gov't Error Appeals Current (within 3 months) Within 3 months

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.

PERM Statistics (as of 12/31/2008)

Of 20,752 PERM applications received during the first quarter of FY2009:

  • 3,074 were Certified
  • 1,328 Denied
  • 169 Withdrawn
  • 16,181 are still "Active" (includes cases in Final Reviews, Audits, Appeals/Reconsideration, or Sponsorship/BE)

Of the 53,200 "Active" PERM cases as of the first quarter of FY2009 (12/31/2009):

  • Audits account for 26%
    • Notes: This percentage does not reflect the actual percentage of all cases that were audited for FY2009, but reflects the percentage of cases still currently open due to audit (some are from prior fiscal years).
    • This report indicates a significant decrease from the previous 2 quarterly reports (44% in June 2008 and 32% in September 2008) of active cases were in audit.

Other Updates

Regulatory Activity

  • Focus has been on H-2A and H-2B regulations, with full implementation in January 2010
  • H-1C regulations currently in process

Temporary Programs at Chicago National Processing Center

  • New LCA Help Desk- OFLC has implemented a dedicated Help Desk unit at the Chicago NPC to serve as a resource to employers or their representatives filing LCA. See DOL Creates Labor Condition Application (LCA) Help Desk for more information.
  • Chicago is currently focused with the H-2A regulations and applications, before turning attention to H-2B, and then H-1B
  • Re: staffing, Chicago NPC will likely stay at the current staffing levels barring increases in funding
  • When prevailing wage determinations for H-1B move to the Chicago NPCs in January 2010, the timeline will likely mirror that for H-2, i.e. 30 days
  • There was a system error where PERM audit requests directed responses to the Chicago NPC. Chicago is aware of the situation, and will forward any such response to Atlanta, or the practitioner could just send the response to Atlanta.

PERM Program at Atlanta National Processing Center

  • See above for statistics
  • Bill Carlson is currently acting Director of the Atlanta NPC
  • DOL advises practitioners to expect timeframes to lengthen; DOL believes that the general guidelines regarding timeframes in the PERM regulations are irrelevant given the changed economic times.
  • Following a surge in contractor hiring in the last quarter of 2008, there may be some training issues which also contribute to the adjudication bottleneck. This should improve over the coming months.
    • Note: There are only 40 federal staff at Atlanta, including secretaries and IT, that supervise the work of contractors.
  • DOL plans to expand Supervised Recruitment, particularly in industries hit hard by the financial crisis. DOL bases its analysis on information from a variety of sources, e.g.  unemployment compensation information, program statistics, and other public information including trade publications.
  • There is some consideration being given to PERM Filing Fees, although this would require statutory change.

New Forms ETA-9035 and ETA-9089 See the Web page iCERT Portal System for drafts of the new forms.

Implementation of iCERT Portal
See the Web page iCERT Portal System for more information.