The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has provided an update to congressional staff regarding the Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC) processes for the issuance of certified Form ETA-9142B labor certification applications for H-2B positions with a start date of need between April 1, 2018, and September 30, 2018. OFLC previously announced that it would release certified applications that have met all regulatory requirements as of February 20, 2018 in sequential order based on the original calendar day and time the application was filed.
On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, OFLC communicated to congressional staff that it will be releasing the first 40,000 worker certifications over a three day period beginning on February 20, 2019, as follows: Day 1: 20-25,000; Day 2: 10-15,000; Day 3: Remaining certifications up to 40,000 positions. OFLC plans to release certified applications representing 20,000-25,000 positions on Day 1, which will represent roughly 1,000-1,500 applications. These will be in order based on the time of submission to DOL. These certifications will be picked up for shipping at noon on February 20, 2018, and again at 4:00-5:00 pm. OFLC will mail out via overnight courier, although the actual delivery date could vary due to shipping uncertainties. Those certified applications that are sent out by OFLC on February 20, 2018, should be delivered on February 21, at which point the Form I-129, Petition for Alien Worker can be submitted to USCIS. USCIS should begin receiving these applications on February 22, 2018, at the earliest. DOL stated that OFLC does not have the capacity to release enough certifications on Day 1 to reach the cap, which is why it is implementing this process.
If a recruitment report has incomplete information or DOL has not received the appropriate revisions, the ETA-9142B application will be taken out of order and pushed back until the full report has been submitted to DOL. Once the full report is submitted, OFLC will put the application at the front of the line on whatever day the complete application is received at OFLC.
DOL will be notifying USCIS as it sends out certified applications, so USCIS should know how many H-2B I-129 applications it will be receiving, and how many positions that these applications represent. This means that USCIS should have some knowledge of the number of petitions and workers they can expect to receive and plan accordingly.