Our office handles many 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 August 31, 2015.
Current PERM Processing Times
The processing times report by DOL for this month suggests slight decrease (improvement) in the regular and audit PERM processing times compared to the last couple of months. Regular PERM cases should take around six to seven months now.
The processing times, as reported by DOL, are as follows:
- Regular processing: February 2015. DOL is processing PERM applications with priority dates of February 2015. This report suggests that the processing times have improved slightly. 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. The PERM processing times have remained steady at around seven mnths over the last few months and we hope this slight improvement is a sign that DOL will be able to decrease their regular PERM processing times over the next months.
- Audited applications: June 2014. DOL is processing PERM audits which have a priority date (date of filing of the PERM application) of June 2014. This processing times report indicates that DOL is working more aggressively on decreasing the (already long) PERM audit backlog. Accordingly, audited PERM applications are processed approximately 15 months after the initial PERM was filed and the priority date established.
- Appealed applications (requests for reconsideration to the Certifying Officer): June 2015. DOL is processing PERM appeals (requests for reconsideration to the certifying officer) which were appealed in June 2015. This metric remains unchanged (after an increase over the summer). Currently, it may take 2 to 3 months to hear from the Certifying Officer after a PERM case is denied and a request for appeal is sent to the Certifying Officer.
- “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 2015 PERM processing times report shows that the PERM processing times are mostly unchanged but with a hint (and a hope) of a trend suggesting decrease in the PERM regular review and audit processing times. We are hopeful that DOL will be able to work on continuing this trend and bringing the PERM processing times down over the next months.
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.