PERM Processing Times

Question: While PERM processing continues to remain at less than 6 months, processing times do appear to have slowed somewhat in the past few months.

a. Is this due to the influx of H-2B applications? b. Is it anticipated that PERM processing times will decrease again after the H-2B backlog has been eliminated?

DOL Response: PERM processing has slowed somewhat in recent months as analysts at the Atlanta Processing Center have provided support for H-2A and H-2B processing. This shifting of resources is part of OFLC’s interoperability plan, and now that H-2B processing is winding down, those resources can shift back to processing PERM applications. OFLC will also likely utilize some of the analysts from the Chicago National Processing Center to assist with PERM processing. Until OFLC obtains the authority to charge processing fees, this kind of ebb and flow in processing times is likely to continue each year based upon available resources. It should be noted, however, that the one-time appropriation of $20 million to fund H-2 processing made a significant impact, and without those funds in future years the surge in H-2 filings could have a much more substantial affect on PERM processing times. To provide context, $20 million is more than one third of OFLC’s annual budget, and thus has a very pronounced effect.

Audit processing was also affected by the shift to H-2 processing, but analysts who process audited cases were not used as heavily to assist with H-2 processing. As a general matter, OFLC is trying to maintain sufficient staff to process audits that matches the number of audits issued in order to avoid developing significant audit backlogs.


Impact of Foreign Ownership on Registration Process

Question: Some employers who have a FEIN are wholly-owned by a foreign entity with headquarters abroad.

a. Does foreign ownership affect the registration process? b. Does the employer need a U.S. headquarters office if the employee will be working remotely?

DOL Response: Foreign ownership does not affect the registration process. The PERM regulations require that an employer filing a PERM application have a location to which U.S. workers can report. Therefore, even if an employee will be working remotely, it is still necessary for the employer to have a physical address to which U.S. workers can report. In addition, business existence verification requires a physical address for an employer that can be demonstrated in the business existence verification process.