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 November 1, 2011. Most notable is the slight increase (or delay) in the processing time for regular PERM applications — approximately four to five months. The processing times, as reported by DOL, are as follows:
- Regular processing: August 2011. DOL is processing PERM applications with priority dates in August of 2011. This suggests that there is a slight improvement in the regular PERM processing times. Accordingly, regular PERM processing times should be between three and four months. Our office has experienced PERM approvals consistent with this timeline and we can confirm it.
- Audited applications: March 2011. DOL is processing PERM audits which have a priority date of March 2011. This is still an improvement in this category in comparison to prior months. Accordingly, audited PERM applications are processed approximately seven to nine 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 2009. DOL is processing PERM appeals (requests for reconsideration to the certifying officer) which have a priority date of September 2009. There is slight improvement in this category in comparison to prior months. Accordingly, PERM appeals are processed approximately 24-26 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).
The November 2011 PERM processing times report shows a slight improvement in the regular and appealed PERM processing times while the audited PERM processing times remain stable. We hope that DOL would be able to continue to improve the PERM processing times over the next weeks and months. We also hope the significant improvement in PERM audit and appeal processing times over the fall would continue in the winter 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.