Our office handles a substantial number of ETA Form 9089 – Permanent Labor Certification (“PERM”) applications and we are closely monitoring the current PERM processing times not only for the benefit of our clients but also to be able to predict longer-term trends in PERM processing.
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has provided an update on the current PERM processing dates as of April 25, 2011. Most notable is the slight increase (or delay) in the processing time for regular PERM applications — up to two (2) months. Also, it is important to note the significant (9 months net) improvement in the PERM audit processing times. The processing times, as reported by DOL, are as follows:
- Regular processing: March 2011. DOL is processing PERM applications with priority dates in March of 2011. This suggests that there is a slight delay in the regular PERM processing (compared to one (1) months in February). Accordingly, regular PERM processing times should be between one and two months. Our office has experienced PERM approvals consistent with this timeline and we can confirm it.
- Audited applications: December 2009. DOL is processing PERM audits which have a priority date of December 2009. This is a notable improvement in this category in comparison to prior months. In comparison with the February 2011 PERM report, this category’s processing time has advanced (improved) by a net of nine (9) months from January 2009 to December 2009. Accordingly, audited PERM applications are processed approximately 17 months after the initial PERM was filed and the priority date established. We welcome this sign of improvement in PERM audit processing times.
- Appealed applications: September 2008. DOL is processing PERM appeals which have a priority date of September 2008. There is some slight improvement in this category in comparison to prior months. Accordingly, PERM appeals are processed approximately 30 months after the initial PERM was filed and its priority date established.
- “Government error” appealed applications. DOL has indicated that PERM appeals in this category are reviewed on a 30-45 day timeline. However, after filing an appeal, DOL does not make an indication whether a PERM appeal is accepted to be processed under the “government error” queue or under the regular appeal queue. As a result, DOL has indicated that the only way to know whether a PERM appeal has been accepted for processing under the “government error” queue is to wait for 45 days for response. If the PERM appeal is reviewed within this time, this would be an indication that a PERM appeal has been accepted (and reviewed) under the “government error” queue. If no response is received 45 days after filing of a PERM appeal, then this should be an indication that the PERM is pending under the regular appeals queue (see above for processing times).
We continue to praise DOL as it has done a terrific job in eliminating the PERM backlog from 9-10 months an year ago to as little as a few weeks today. We also welcome the significant improvement in PERM audit processing times. At the same time, however, it is disappointing to see that the appealed queues move very slowly forward or remain unchanged. We hope that DOL, after being able to consistently review regular PERM cases on a 2-8 weeks timeline, would turn its attention to appeals and audits and decrease the processing times for those cases as well.
Our office has developed a great practice handling PERM filings and/or audit/appeal responses so please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help you. Also, we will continue monitoring the PERM processing times and analyze any updates. Please visit us again or subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to ensure that you obtain this and related immigration-related news and announcements.