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Listserv Q&A for
"Preparing For PERM With Joel Stewart "

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If PERM does not come out, would it be better off, in terms of processing time, that a RIR is filed after Jan 1, 2005 than filed now? The concern is: if filed now, the SWA will "open" the case but most likely will not process the case after Jan 1, 2005. By the time they complete processing it, they'll transfer it to Atlanta or Chicago, or if not processed by March 25, 2005, transfer it to Dallas or Phil. Wouldn't it be faster if the case be processed directly by Atlanta or Chicago (going through one tier than through two tiers)? I have several RIRs in preparation and have the option of filing now or waiting till Jan 2 (employer is willing to continue the recruitment period). I am contemplating on what would be the best strategy for getting the labor certifications approved asap.

Answer by Ester Greenfeld:

If we do not have the PERM regulation, your case will be processed in two tiers whether it is filed before or after Jan 1. In either case, the case is filed with the SWA and then transferred to a national center. According to the memos we have so far, cases filed before Jan 1 go to Dallas or Philadelphia; and cases filed after Jan 1 go to Atlanta and Chicago. Sam was perfectly correct in the teleconference to point out that cases filed after Jan 1 would appear to be processed first, since all of the backlogged cases are going to Dallas or Philadelphia. However, I would hope that if there is no PERM, national DOL will do something - we don't know what yet - to ensure adherence to the FIFO principle and not allow the cases filed after Jan 1 to jump their place in line. I would hope that as we get closer to the new year, if PERM is not released, the DOL will announce its plans to ensure FIFO processing of cases filed before and after Jan 1. That is not a prediction - that is just my hope.