On April 15, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) launched its new
iCERT portal, which
will be used to file Labor Condition
Applications (LCAs) and Permanent Labor Certification
Applications (PERM). At this time, the iCERT portal may only be
used to submit and file the LCA form (ETA 9035). DOL plans to
implement filing of PERM applications (ETA 9089) through iCERT
in September 2009. A certified LCA is required for the H-1B,
H-1B1 (Singapore/Chile Free Trade Agreement) and the E-3
(Australia) visa categories.
From April 15, 2009, until May 14, 2009,
DOL will operate the iCERT LCA filing system in parallel to the
current LCA filing system, and employers may submit LCAs under
either system. After May 15, 2009, all LCAs must be filed
through the iCERT portal. Employers will still be able to
access LCAs submitted under the previous system, but only to
print out LCAs previously certified, or to withdraw certified LCAs.
DOL has stated at recent stakeholder
meetings that LCAs submitted through iCERT may take up to seven
days to be processed. Under the LCA regulations, DOL is
required to issue a decision on a submitted LCA within seven
days, but under the current filing system, most LCAs are
processed within moments of submittal. Employers should be
aware that longer processing time of LCAs at DOL may impact when
an H-1B petition may be filed, and plan accordingly.
In addition to the iCERT filing system for
LCAs, the iCERT portal will include information regarding
prevailing wage data, FAQs on PERM and the various nonimmigrant
visa programs in which DOL is involved, performance data on PERM
applications, and status of LCA and PERM applications. We would
note that the iCERT status field will return status only for
applications filed under the iCERT system. PERM applications
and LCAs filed under the current system cannot be accessed
through this status screen. It appears from preliminary review
of the iCERT portal that not all of its functions are operational.
Jackson & Hertogs will continue to monitor the iCERT portal's launch,
and advise clients as information becomes available.