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[Federal Register: December 8, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 235)]
[Notices]               
[Page 73035-73037]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr08de05-112]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

 
Permanent Labor Certification Program: Training and Employment 
Guidance Letter 8-05 in Response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Department of 
Labor.

ACTION: Notice of Training and Employment Guidance Letter.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Employment and Training Administration has issued the 
Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 8-05, dated November 16, 
2005, to provide guidance to the National Processing Centers and 
Backlog Elimination Centers (collectively, Centers). TEGL 8-05 advises 
the Centers of accommodations to be made for employers impacted by 
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma regarding the filing and processing 
of permanent labor certifications. The Division of Foreign Labor 
Certification (DFLC) issued initial guidance regarding the impact of 
Hurricane Katrina on permanent labor certification processing on 
October 13, 2005, which was posted on the DFLC Web site at http://atlas.doleta.gov/foreign/.
 TEGL 8-05 replaces and supersedes all prior 

DFLC hurricane guidance. TEGL 8-05 is reprinted in the Federal Register 
in order to inform the public, and will be posted on the DFLC Web site.

DATES: TEGL 8-05 is effective November 16, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Wittman Cox, Senior Policy 
Advisor, Telephone: (202) 693-3010.

    Dated: December 2, 2005.
Emily Stover DeRocco,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Employment and Training Administration Advisory   Classification; Permanent Labor Certif.
                      System
             U.S. Department of Labor               Correspondence Symbol; DFLC
               Washington, DC 20210                 Issue Date; November 16, 2005.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Advisory: Foreign Labor Certification Training and Employment 
Guidance Letter No. 8-05.
    To: FLC-National Processing Center Directors. FLC-Backlog 
Elimination Center Directors.
    From: Emily Stover DeRocco, Assistant Secretary.
    Subject: Response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma--Deadlines 
and Correspondence for the Permanent Labor Certification Program.
    1. Purpose. This memorandum outlines interim procedures for the 
management of mail related to applications in the permanent labor 
certification program and reflects the decision by the Division of 
Foreign Labor Certification (DFLC or Division) to postpone certain 
regulatory and procedural deadlines pertaining to applications affected 
by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. DFLC issued guidance for 
Hurricane Katrina on

[[Page 73036]]

October 13, 2005. Stakeholders raised certain questions in response to 
that guidance. Therefore, this guidance replaces and supersedes all 
prior DFLC hurricane guidance. This guidance will be posted on DFLC's 
Web site and published in the Federal Register.
    2. References. DFLC Field Memorandum, ``Response to Hurricane 
Katrina'' (October 13, 2005).''
    3. Background. In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina battered the 
Gulf Coast of the United States, devastating large areas of Louisiana, 
Alabama, and Mississippi. In late September 2005, Hurricane Rita hit 
the Gulf Coast of the United States, including parts of Louisiana and 
Texas. In late October 2005, Hurricane Wilma devastated parts of 
Florida. DFLC will work closely with our stakeholders to minimize 
disruption to the labor certification process as the country works 
through these disasters. This guidance outlines the Division's 
emergency policy related to deadlines and correspondence for permanent 
program applications related to Katrina, Rita, and Wilma impacted 
areas.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------
RESCISSIONS DFLC Field Memorandum,          Expiration Date
 ``Response to Hurricane Katrina''          March 2006
 (October 13, 2005).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. Discussion.
    A. Mail delivery. Currently, the Post Office and other mail 
delivery services are not delivering mail to certain areas impacted by 
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. In addition, many businesses, 
including law firms, have been destroyed by these hurricanes and 
subsequent flooding. Therefore, until further notice, National 
Processing Centers, Backlog Elimination Centers, and their satellite 
offices (collectively, the Centers) should not send correspondence to 
zip codes in the affected regions where there is either no mail service 
or partial mail service, as shown on the United States Postal Service 
Web site at http://www.usps.com/ communications/news/serviceupdates. 

htm?from=bannercommunications& page=katrina.
    Normally, copies of correspondence from DFLC regarding permanent 
labor certification applications are sent to both the employer and the 
legal representative named on the application. DFLC will continue 
processing every case to the extent feasible. However, to avoid 
potential misunderstandings regarding the status of a case, DFLC will 
hold all correspondence and case communications where one of the 
recipients of the correspondence is in an area with no or partial mail 
delivery, until a new address is provided by the employer or attorney 
in accordance with the instructions below.
    B. Advising DFLC of new mailing addresses and contact information. 
Because some employers and/or their attorneys may be relocating from 
disaster-impacted areas on a temporary or permanent basis, we have 
established e-mail addresses to receive new contact information. We 
will verify this new information as needed. Employers or their 
attorneys are asked to contact the Center with jurisdiction over each 
particular permanent labor certification case as follows:
    Katrina.dflc@phi.dflc.us for the Backlog Elimination Center in 
Philadelphia; Katrina.dflc@dal.dflc.us for the Backlog Elimination 
Center in Dallas; Katrina.dflcatlanta@dol.gov for the National 
National Processing Center in Chicago.
    The subject line of each e-mail should designate which hurricane(s) 
affected the application. E-mailed notices must include: the new 
mailing address to which correspondence should be forwarded, any new 
telephone and facsimile information, and sufficient information to 
identify each affected application(s), including the case number(s). 
(Please note: global requests for a mailing address change will not be 
honored.) In the case of temporary or interim relocations, please note 
the time period when the new address/phone numbers will be in effect. 
Any subsequent changes to the employer or attorney's mailing address 
must also be e-mailed to the addresses above.
    C. Case file. Due to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, DFLC will 
accept new addresses for purposes of mailing only. Addresses will not 
be added or amended on pending applications, as a new address can 
sometimes change key elements of an application `` for example, a new 
work location can change the applicable prevailing wage rate and area 
of intended employment. Instead, for purposes of mailing to a new 
address, the Centers will create a brief cover letter to add to the 
prepared correspondence. This cover letter will document the date the 
new address request was received and the new address itself. Center 
staff will then annotate the electronic case file to record the new 
address and the type of correspondence sent to the new address on a 
given date.
    D. Due dates. To address Hurricanes Rita and Wilma, and in response 
to stakeholder questions about the earlier guidance on Hurricane 
Katrina, DFLC provides the information below to clarify the 
applicability of due date deadline extensions.
    For those permanent labor certification applications where either 
the employer or its attorney or agent is located in a Katrina, Rita, or 
Wilma disaster area (the counties and parishes that have been or are 
later designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as disaster 
areas eligible for Individual or Public Assistance because of the 
devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina), DFLC is postponing certain 
regulatory and procedural deadlines. Specifically, DFLC is extending 
deadlines for employer responses to Backlog Elimination Center (BEC)-
issued 45-day letters (also known as continuation letters), BEC-issued 
Notices of Findings, National Processing Center (NPC)-issued audit 
requests, NPC requests for additional information, and employer 
appeals. In other words, any of these specifically listed application 
materials with a due date during the period described below will be 
considered timely if received by the appropriate Center by the date 
specified for each hurricane:
    For Hurricane Katrina: If the specific deadlines listed above fall 
during the period from August 29, 2005, until December 1, 2005, the 
employer's submission will be considered timely if received by the 
appropriate NPC by December 1, 2005.
    For Hurricane Rita: If the specific deadlines listed above fall 
during the period from September 23, 2005, until January 1, 2006, the 
employer's submission will be considered timely if received by the 
appropriate NPC by January 1, 2006.
    For Hurricane Wilma: If the specific deadlines listed above fall 
during the period from October 24, 2005, until February 1, 2006, the 
employer's submission will be considered timely if received by the 
appropriate NPC by February 1, 2006.
    These extensions apply even if the employer, attorney, or agent has

[[Page 73037]]

relocated and resumed operations outside the disaster area.
    The list of counties and parishes designated by FEMA as disaster 
areas eligible for Individual or Public Assistance as a result of 
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma has been published and amended in 
the Federal Register, and is available at http://www.fema.gov/ news/

disasters.fema. For the hardest hit areas, DFLC will closely monitor 
progress and may extend these deadlines even further. DFLC will work 
with stakeholders covered by an extension provided above who may 
receive written communications applying an earlier or incorrect 
deadline. We will consider other deadline issues on a case-by-case 
basis.
    E. Filing Date Extensions for PERM applications impacted by 
Hurricane Wilma, Rita, or Katrina. Under current PERM regulations, 
employers must begin their recruitment efforts no more than 180 days 
prior to filing a permanent labor certification application, and must 
complete most recruitment measures at least 30 days prior to filing. 
Due to recent hurricanes, employers or their attorneys within a FEMA-
designated disaster area may be unable to comply with the requirement 
of completing their recruitment efforts within the regulatory 180-day 
time frame. Therefore, DFLC is extending recruitment validity periods 
to allow employers or their attorneys located within a FEMA-designated 
disaster area (as defined above) to file their permanent labor 
certification application by seventy-five (75) days after the date of 
the last of the three hurricanes, so long as recruitment was begun 
within 180 days prior to the specific hurricane. The last of the three 
hurricanes, Wilma, hit on October 24, 2005, and 75 days after that date 
is January 7, 2006. The specific dates applicable to each hurricane are 
as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Recruitment must
                                  have begun by (180   Filing must occur
         Hurricane date              days prior to            by:
                                      hurricane):
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Katrina--Aug. 29, 2005..........  March 2, 2005.....  January 7, 2006.
Rita--Sept. 23, 2005............  March 27, 2005....  January 7, 2006.
Wilma--Oct. 24, 2005............  April 27, 2005....  January 7, 2006.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Those hurricane-affected employers who may have already been denied 
due to the ``staleness'' of the recruitment on an application may file 
a request for reconsideration with the appropriate Certifying Officer.
    Those employers wishing to submit an application under this 
guidance, where the recruitment period lasted longer than 180 days, 
must submit their application by mail to the appropriate National 
Processing Center. The employer must include a cover letter (signed by 
the employer or the employer's representative) explaining the 
particular circumstances that caused the employer to fall within the 
boundaries of this guidance. Please note: Under the regulations, 
recruitment steps must be completed at least 30 days before filing the 
application. This requirement will still be enforced.
    The Division will continue to revisit issues surrounding Hurricanes 
Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in the coming months, as needed.
    5. Action Required. FLC Center directors are requested to inform 
certifying officers and staff of the information in this guidance 
letter and ensure they take appropriate action.
    6. Inquiries. Please direct questions to the appropriate National 
Office staff.

[FR Doc. 05-23784 Filed 12-7-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-30-P




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