GLF has prepared the following draft referencing AILA Doc. No. 23072633, dated July 26, 2023.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) conducted an Open Forum on June 23, 2023 wherein the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) responded to questions raised by AILA DOL Liaison Committee. The forum allowed OFLC to address queries from AILA with emphasis on the PERM process.
INSIGHTS FROM THE PERM Q&A SESSION
We have gathered the key takeaways from the Q&A session on the PERM process as follows
INCREASE IN FILINGS AND BUDGET
OFLC has experienced record increases in application filings across various programs. For PERM applications, there was a 13.5% increase in the first half of FY2023 compared to the same period in FY2022. Similarly, other programs like Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWD), CW-1, H-2A, and H-2B have also seen significant increases in applications. However, the budget changes have not fully kept pace with the rising application filings
PROPOSED FY2024 BUDGET INCREASE
OFLC has proposed an increase of $19.5 million in the FY2024 budget, including additional full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and funds for federal operations and state grants. This budget increase aims to stabilize OFLC adjudication processing times.
UPDATES TO FLAG SYSTEM
After PERM is incorporated into the FLAG (Foreign Labor Application Gateway) system, OFLC is not considering any other major changes at this time.
TIMELINE AND DECOMMISSIONING OF LEGACY PERM PORTAL
OFLC has not provided a specific timeline for completing the review of Form ETA 9089 filings on the legacy PERM portal before reviewing those on FLAG. The legacy portal will be decommissioned gradually, but as of May 31, 2023, only the ability to file new applications has been turned off.
PREVAILING WAGE PROCESSING TIMES
OFLC is still working on improving processing times for prevailing wage determinations, and it has been impacted by the introduction of the 2018 SOC codes. OFLC aims to bring processing times down to a reasonable level.
APPEAL OF PREVAILING WAGE DATA
There is no appeal process for prevailing wage data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the Online Wage Library (OWL). Wage data is updated annually on July 1.
PREVAILING WAGE DETERMINATION CHALLENGES
Some members have reported issues with prevailing wage determinations based on employer-provided wage surveys. OFLC is looking into the matter, and applicants may seek redetermination and provide additional documentation if needed.
The insights gained from the U.S. DOL Open Forum highlight the ongoing changes and challenges within the PERM process and related programs. As immigration processes continue to evolve, staying updated on these developments is crucial for both legal practitioners and individuals navigating the system. The proposed budget increase and efforts to enhance processing times demonstrate OFLC’s commitment to addressing the growing demands while maintaining fairness and efficiency.
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