Just a quick note. I returned from the AILA Conference in DC where I met with many colleagues and friends.
I would like to say that the quality of the presentations was very good. I attended the PERM conferences and saw many rising stars as well as long-standing icons in the labor certification field.
The main points raised during the PERM presentations were twofold: (1) The supervised recruitment phenomenon and (2) Increased audits and denials based on inconsistencies in the documentation.
The inconsistencies involve, for example, prevailing wage ranges, actual wage offers, information about how to contact Employers and others, in NOF's (Notices of Filings), and 30-day job orders at the State Workforce Agencies. Employers are answering the questions on these forms "incorrectly, " and, in the view of DOL (according to Solicitor Harry Scheinfeld)and the Zero Tolerance Policy, although initially attacked in Health America and its progeny, is still very strong and getting stronger. If DOL adheres to the Zero Tolerance Policy, it would logically issue decisions very quickly again (within 60 days), as this was the expectation when the PERM Rule was activated.
Supervised Recruitment was discussed in a separate panel, and at first I was surprised, because I thought that there was little to be said. Practitioners will recall that before there was PERM, there was RIR (Reduction in Recruitment); and before there was RIR, there was Regular Labor Certification Processing (also called, "basic labor certification process"). The RIR processing was supposed to give Employers credit for advertising and recruitment done prior to filing applications and thereby eliminate some of the gargantuan delays that were common in those days. The regular processing required employers to recruit under the supervision of DOL, which monitored the resumes and other details of the labor certification process.
The Supervised Recruitment presentation taught us that DOL is now using supervision to rewrite the regulatory process. Nobody noticed, until now, that under the Supervised Recruitment process in PERM, there is no guidance in the regulations on the type and length of recruitment necessary when being supervised. Examples were given of onerous advertising requirements, costing thousands of dollars more than before.
I will address these and other issues in future blogs!