The Department of Labor, the government agency responsible for overseeing the Labor Certification process in Employment Based Green Cards (EB2 and EB3), otherwise known as PERM has issued a fact sheet stating it’s intentions to modernize the PERM requirements and methods. The fact sheet is likely in response to President Obama’s Executive action in other areas of US immigration that were primarily targeted towards the Department of Homeland Security. As a Chicago based immigration lawyer regularly dealing with employment based green cards, we are always looking for ways to circumvent the tedious, expensive, and unpredictable PERM process. As I have discussed in previous blog posts, the processing times for PERM have skyrocketed in the past few years, audits have increased, and denials have increased. Perhaps Government Officials in charge of Immigration believe by increasing processing times and making the process more challenging and expensive for employers will reduce the amount of applicants, which will in turn reduce the backlog currently faced in the EB3 category and in EB2 for China and India.
Any improvements to the process are welcomed. The main points DOL will be studying are:
- New options and methodologies for identifying occupational shortages and surpluses – This is a bit vague and not really sure what DOL is referring to here;
- Methods and Practices designed to modernize U.S. Recruitment requirements – as mentioned above 2 Sunday newspaper requirement often makes the process too expensive for employers or just not practical. Hopefully the 2 Sunday newspaper requirement will be on the list of improving the PERM process;
- Processes to insure PERM positions are fully open to US Workers – this really does not make sense. An employer is agreeing to sponsor the foreign applicant for permanent residence because they want this foreign applicant to work for them on a permanent basis – why would an employer want to look for someone else. This is a disconnect from reality. I’m not quite sure what DOL is thinking here;
- Ranges of case processing times and possibilities for premium processing – It’s frustrating and nerve racking for both the immigration lawyer and client to go through this process and then have to wait 8 to 10 months for a response and then have to go through a 10 month audit process.
- Application submission and revise process for efficiently addressing non-material errors – as described above, when the focus is on details that are not material, especially when there really isn’t an error, it get’s away from justice and reality. It also gets away from the purpose of seeing if there was a test of the labor market.
Immigration lawyers all over are welcoming any improvements to the PERM process.
The DOL fact sheet can be found at this link: