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Blogging: April 02, 2008

by Joel Stewart

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Joel Stewart's blog.

March 31, 2008

Getting Ready for PERM BOOK II

While reviewing the regulations, so many issues come to mind to be included in the PERM BOOK II! Have you ever thought about the OMB approval for the 9089 form, what it says and what it means?

Part "P" on page 10 of the form contains OMB information and the Paperwork Reduction Act Information Control Number. For those of you who are neophytes to government-speak, this means that the Form cannot be used by DOL until it goes through an approval process, which includes a public discussion and publication in the Federal Register about the burden placed by the Form on U.S. Employers and whether it requires too much, unnecessary paper! The OMB information on the 9089 Form states (believe it or not) that it takes 1 1/4 (one and a quarter) hours to collect the information required for a PERM application, including the time required to review instructions, search existing data sources, gather and maintain the data needed, and compile and review the collection of information.

Doesn't It seem hard to believe that anyone who ever filed a PERM application, especially the first time, could reach that conclusion? Think about all time required to prepare, process and file an application (words used in the prohibition against attorney fees). This necessarily includes reviewing the instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information, even before sitting down to fill out the 9089 Form.

I would venture to say that an Employer would need to spend at least an hour and a quarter not to do all the above, but just to read the PERM form carefully, including the big, medium, and small print on the 9089 Form. And if the employer is a fast reader, then what about adding to that the time to read the separate instructions that accompany the Form? And then the time required to read the instructions that accompany the Electronic form plus the instructions on the electronic site (which are different from the printed instructions), and finally the instructions accompanying each field on the 9089 Form itself, and the time required for the Employer to register and receive approval on the DOL's "user-friendly" site. Oh, and don't forget how long it takes to go through the DOL website trying to understand which links are needed and which are not needed, where they are currently located, and then to print them out and place in a folder. After all, not everyone will have a copy of the PERM BOOK II where everything is easily and conveniently located.

I won't go on and on (although I would like to), but you get the point. Now if DOL must were to estimate  attorney fees for processing a PERM case, and if it would only amount to 1 1/4 hours of time, and if the hourly fee charged by the attorney varried, let's assume $75.00 at the low end and $500 at the high end, the Employer would only have to spend about $100 at the low end, only slightly more than the cost of courier, copy and mileage costs. At if the high end, the Employer would have to pay $625 for legal services. Does that sound steep for processing a PERM case? Well, any lawyer who could do all that in 1 1/4 hours is probably worth the higher hourly rate, don't you think?

While I was writing this article, my interest has been peaked, so I decided to look at some other OMB approved forms. I went directly to the USCIS website ( for further edification. Here are some results:

AR-11 (Change of Address Form) takes 5 minutes. (No difference between the English and Russian Instructions).

G-638 (FOIA) takes 15 minutes. Gosh, does that include the time to get the signatures from the different parties signed and/or notarized?

I-130 (Relative Petition) takes 90 minutes. I wonder, does that include the time for the betrothed to go to the pharmacy for photos?

I-129 (H Worker, etc.) takes a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes. Now, how do you get 2 hours and 45 minutes for an I-29 and 1 hour and 15 minutes for a PERM Form?

If I go on and on commenting on odd OMB facts published on the internet, you will certainly think I am being silly.

But to be honest, the findings are so strange, that I would be genuinely interested and pleased to read your comments (about the preparation time for PERM Forms).

Now, in case you are wondering how we should attempt to correct this, or if it is even worth it to trying to correct, the PERM Form itself invites us to "Send comments regarding this burden estimate to the Division of Foreign Labor Certification * U.S. Department of Labor * Room C4312 * 200 Constitution Ave., NW *Washington, DC * 20210.

Perhaps we could put our thoughts together and write the DOL about this?

Your individual voices may be heard in Washington, even before the new, updated PERM Form is issued!