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 January 14, 2014.
Current PERM Processing Times
Most notable is the significant processing time for PERM applications – while there is no change in the processing time (7-8 months) for regular PERM cases, we easily look back at 2-3 month processing times as recently as a year or so ago. Also, PERM applications on audit now take a month longer compared to last month. The processing times, as reported by DOL, are as follows:
- Regular processing: May 2013. DOL is processing PERM applications with priority dates of May 2013. Accordingly, regular PERM processing times should be around seven to eight months. Our office has experienced PERM approvals consistent with this timeline and we can confirm it. There is no significant change in the regular processing times compared to the last (December 6, 2013) report.
- Audited applications: October 2012. DOL is processing PERM audits which have a priority date of October 2012. This processing time has worsened by a month compared to the December 6, 2013 report. Accordingly, audited PERM applications are processed approximately 15 -16 months after the initial PERM was filed and the priority date established.
- Appealed applications (requests for reconsideration to the Certifying Officer): January 2014. DOL is processing PERM appeals (requests for reconsideration to the certifying officer) which were appealed in January 2014. There is no change in this category, compared to our last report. 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 January 2014 PERM processing times report shows that the PERM processing times remain largely unchanged compared to our report from a month ago with the exception of PERM audit applications where the processing time has increased by a month. Over the past several months, 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 control and bring down the PERM processing times especially since they were as short as two months not long ago.
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.