The U.S. Department of Labor recently posted updated PERM processing dates. DOL reports that as of April 30, 2010, it was processing the following PERM cases:
Analyst Review: July 2009
Audit Review: April 2008
Standard Appeals: November 2007
Government Error Appeals: Current
The Analyst Review and Audit Review queues moved forward one month; the other two categories were unchanged from March.
Cases in “Analyst Review” are undergoing initial review – these are the cases for which DOL is currently issuing certifications and audit notices. While DOL reports that it is processing cases filed in July 2009, we are aware that cases filed as late as December 2009 have recently been processed at DOL.
Cases in “Audit Review” were issued audit notices by DOL, and the employer submitted an audit response to DOL for review. It is important to note that DOL uses the date of original filing (i.e., the priority date) to determine processing times for all PERM cases. For example, DOL is reviewing audit responses for PERM cases that were filed in April 2008 and earlier; however, the employer’s audit response may have been submitted several months after that date.
Cases in “Standard Appeals” are denied cases where either a request for reconsideration by DOL or a request for appellate review (i.e., an appeal) was submitted. DOL now forwards appeals directly to the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) for review; however, until late 2009, DOL was processing both reconsideration requests and appeals in the same queue, so the “Standard Appeals” queue includes both requests for reconsideration and appeals.
“Government Error Appeals” are appeals based solely on an error by DOL, i.e., cases denied for failure to respond to an audit, but the employer did in fact submit a timely audit response. While an employer may ask for its appeal to be considered under the government error queue, DOL is the sole arbiter in determining whether the decision was government error. If DOL does not find that the decision was erroneous, the case will move to the Standard Appeal queue for further processing.