Recently released DOL statistics show that there are currently 21,000 PERM applications pending. Of these, 50% are being reviewed by analysts and 33% (estimated to be about 7,000 cases) are being audited. Analysts are reportedly processing applications filed on or about October 2011 and are reviewing audit responses received on or about April 2011. The DOL has implemented measures in its Atlanta processing center to improve “timeliness.” The goal is to have all PERM processes completed in no more than 180 days. The DOL reports that it is not yet meeting that goal.
For FY 2012, the DOL reports that it has certified 9,400 applications and denied 2,400. Only about 45% of the applications that were audited were approved.
The DOL is set to release official details about upcoming technical enhancements to iCERT in the coming months. We have learned that changes to the Prevailing Wage Requests form (ETA 9141) will likely include more mandatory fields with warning pop-ups to reduce errors and a method for applicants to attach supporting documents, such as wage surveys, to Prevailing Wage Requests in iCERT. Applicants will also be able to request case reviews directly in the iCERT portal just as redetermination requests are submitted now. Technical enhancements will also make it possible for those submitting review and redetermination requests to upload documents directly to iCERT, eliminating the need to mail documents or work with the Helpdesk to link documents.
In December 2011, the DOL reportedly completed the design phase for iCERT implementation of the new PERM application Form ETA 9089 (also referred to as the “PERM module”). The final launch of the iCERT PERM module is likely many months away since, in addition to budgetary concerns, the DOL must still engage in testing to identify technical and substantive issues.