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 filing and processing statistics in addition to the processing dates as of September 5, 2013.
Current PERM Processing Times
Most notable, again, is the additional delay in the processing time for regular PERM applications — to approximately six months. The processing times, as reported by DOL, are as follows:
- Regular processing: February 28, 2013. DOL is processing PERM applications with priority dates of about February 28, 2013. Accordingly, regular PERM processing times should be around six to seven months. Our office has experienced PERM approvals consistent with this timeline and we can confirm it. While there is no additional delay this month (good news), we and many of our readers would be disappointed by the significant PERM processing times right now.
- Audited applications: August 31, 2012. DOL is processing PERM audits which have a priority date of August 31, 2012. This processing time has increased (again) by one month compared to our last report as of August 5, 2013. Accordingly, audited PERM applications are processed approximately twelve months after the initial PERM was filed and the priority date established.
- Appealed applications (requests for reconsideration to the Certifying Officer):September 3, 2013. DOL is processing PERM appeals (requests for reconsideration to the certifying officer) which were appealed on or about September 3, 2013. There is no change in this category, compared to our last report, after there was a notable improvement in this category. Accordingly, PERM requests for reconsideration are processed within approximately a month after PERM appeal (motion for reconsideration to the Certifying Officer) is filed.
- “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.
The September 2013 PERM processing times report shows no change in the regular PERM processing times and a one-month increase in the PERM audit processing times. We have been seeing continuing increase in the regular PERM processing times and on behalf of our clients, we are hopeful that DOL would be able to bring down the regular PERM processing times especially since several months ago they were as short as two months. The fact that the regular PERM processing times remain steady is a cautiously hopeful sign, but there is much room for improvement. Also, we should caution that additional PERM delays are possible due to the (strong, as of the time of this writing) possibility that the U.S. federal government would close on October 1st. If this happens, an additional delay in the PERM processing times, across the board, is expected.
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.