Mar 10 2016

DOL Sends Proposed PERM Modernization Regulation for Federal Review

United States

United States

The Department of Labor has submitted a draft regulation on modernization of the PERM system to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for initial review – the first step toward making changes to the 11-year-old labor certification system.  

The proposed rule is confidential and will not be disclosed until published in the Federal Register.  DOL has reportedly based its proposal in part on a series of listening sessions it held over the last two years with employers and other business immigration stakeholders.  During those discussions, stakeholders recommended an array of changes to the labor certification process, including:

• Updating PERM advertising and other recruitment requirements to make them more consistent with current business practices;
• Permitting employers to correct harmless errors in pending PERM applications;
• Allowing foreign nationals to qualify for offered positions based on experience gained with the sponsoring employer; and
• Updating the list of shortage occupations that are exempt from the labor certification process (“Schedule A” occupations).
The regulation under review is a proposal only.  OMB has 90 days to review it, after which it could suggest changes or clear the rule for initial publication.  No changes to the PERM system will take effect until the regulation is put into final form, approved by OMB and published – a process that is likely to take several months or more.
What This Means for Employers
Employers and business immigration advocates have long urged DOL to consider improvements to the labor certification process, to allow more flexibility in the choice of PERM recruitment methods and to make the unforgiving application less burdensome.  
When the proposed rule is published, employers will have an opportunity to provide feedback during a public comment period, which is typically 30 to 60 days long.  Comments from employers will be crucial to make DOL aware of the critical need for “real world” PERM requirements and adjudication standards.  If your organization wishes to comment on the proposed rule once it is published, please contact your designated Fragomen team or the firm’s Government Strategies Group.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.