The DOL has announced that an unexpected volume of H-2b filings today has crashed the iCert web-site making it unavailable for at least a day or possibly longer. The iCert system is used for LCA's for H-1b cases and for PWD's for PERM cases. We will update you when it is back on-line.
Slowly but surely, the DOL has once again resumed isusing PWD's submitted to support H-1b or PERM applications. The DOL is currently procesisng PWD requests received in late June. They have released data that shows a backlog of approx. 15,000 for the months of July and Aug. The DOL has also advised that it plans to dedicate additional resources from its other product lines to deal with these backlogs. Although the curent procesisng time of approx. 90 days is 45-60 days longer than we had previously enjoyed, it is a far cry from the dire delays predicted by many in the bar. Sometimes I get the impression that attorneys like to exaggerate things to create a crisis where none exists and in doing so, we often overlook a real crisis but, maybe that's just me.
As we advised you in our Aug 2nd post, the DOL suspended issuing PWD's and to date there has been no official announcement regarding a return to full service. There have been multiple reports of attorneys receiving a scattering of PWD's last week but, it does nto appear that a full scale return to operations as normal occurred. At HLG, attorney Sherry Neal received 2 but, none of the other attys. received any. (I attribute that to her good living). Obviously, this delay has created a variety of problems for many clients which include ads expiring and having to be placed again, internal postings expiring in the Sch A context, and employees not being able to file to preserve 7th year extensions, among others. We will keep you updated as developments occur.
The DOL is currently providing the following update on the issuance of prevailing wage determinations: The OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center is experiencing delays in processing prevailing wage determinations as it is currently working to reissue certain determinations to comply with a court order issued June 15, 2011 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2011, and a Final Rule will be published on August 1. All Center resources are currently being utilized to comply with this court order. The processing of Prevailing Wage Determinations, redeterminations, and Center Director Reviews has been temporarily suspended. Processing will resume as soon as full compliance with the court order has been completed by OFLC. At this time, there is no indication as to when the processing of PWD's will resume. The commencement of recruitment activities to support PERM filings will be delayed. We will provide updates as they become available.
In a recent decision, BALCA, once again applied common sense and reason which, has not always been the case but certainly, seems to be a recent trend. In the most recent case, BALCA declared that if a PWD contains 2 wages, that the employer must proceed with the higher wage in its PERM case.