Increased Time/Difficulty in Filing H-1B Petitions Likely Due to Burdensome New LCA/ETA Form 9035 Form Rolling Out on November 19, 2018
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the new ETA Form 9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA) for Nonimmigrant Workers, will be fully implemented on November 19, 2018. The existing LCA remains valid and the public can continue to file it until November 19, 2018. Employers or their authorized representatives who are filing an LCA on or after November 19, 2018, must use the revised form. Certified LCAs filed prior to November 19, 2018 will also remain valid and can be used by petitioners to support H-1B filings.
AILA has already submitted comments on the proposed revised form during the Notice and Comment period in October 2017 and June 2018. In the latter, AILA noted that the additional time required to complete the new ETA 9035 had been significantly underestimated by DOL and that, “[w]hile the proposed changes are largely helpful, there are nevertheless areas where the proposed changes may (1) violate regulatory requirements; (2) create unnecessary new burdens on employers; and (3) fail in practice to meet DOL’s stated purpose of providing clarification.”
The U.S. Department of Labor’s OFLC statistics on H-1Bs as of 8/31/14, including number of LCAs received, top occupations, states, and employers, as well as the number of certified, denied, and withdrawn LCAs, number of positions requested and certified, and percentage of applications timely processed.
Interestingly, of the top ten (10) H-1B Occupations:
- The top three (3) H-1B Occupations involve Information Technology.
- A total of six (6) of the top 10 H-1B Occupations involve Information Technology.
Link: H-1B_Selected_Statistics_FY2014_Q4 (PDF)
AILA’s recommendations on filing H-1B, PERM and other applications while DOL’s iCERT and PERM Websites are Shutdown
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has indicated that they are trying to obtain guidance from USCIS and US Department of Labor (DOL) about how attorneys should move forward in filing applications like the H-1B and PERM/Labor Certifications which have been affected by the DOL’s shutdown (resulting from the Federal Government’s Shutdown).
AILA does not have official guidance from the USCIS and DOL yet and indicates that there are “conflicting reports” regarding DOL’s ability to even accept mail. For now, however, AILA recommends the following:
We have received approvals on our PERM Reconsideration Requests filed subsequent to an “Agricultural Engineer” Denial
Our office has received approvals for PERM cases previously denied by DOL. DOL had indicated in the denial that using the term “Engineering” in advertising for an IT position was essentially overbroad, and that “the job requirements, as described, must represent the employer’s actual minimum requirements for the job opportunity.” The original DOL denial stated:
“the term “Engineering” implies that a degree in any engineering field would enable an applicant to qualify for the position of Senior Software Developer, when in fact, not all engineering degrees would provide an applicant with the necessary skills to perform the duties of a Senior Software Developer. For example, U.S. workers who have a degree in an engineering field like “Agricultural Engineering” are not likely to have the skills necessary to perform, in an acceptable manner, the duties involved in the Senior Software Developer position. Specifically, the curriculum for a degree in Agricultural Engineering focuses on educating students in the analysis and design of machinery, animal housing, and environmental systems for the production, processing, storage, handling, distribution, and use of food, feed, fiber and other biomaterials, and the management of related natural resources, by integrating basic physical and biological sciences with engineering design principles…Because the employer’s education requirements are so broad, the Certifying Officer is unable to determine if these requirements are normal to the position and/or if they are unduly restrictive. Therefore, the Certifying Officer has concluded that an applicant with any engineering degree would not have the skills necessary to perform the duties of the position in an acceptable manner, and as a result, is unable to determine the employer’s actual minimum requirements for the job opportunity.”
Following our reconsideration request, the DOL has approved/certified our client’s PERM cases.
Dept. of Labor indicates that “Unusually High Number of Cases Filed”: Issuing Generic LCA Certification Notices
http://www.ashwinsharma.com, VIA AILA.org
More indications of the impending avalanche of H-1B cases set to be filed for the quota which opens April 1, and of the problems caused by DOL’s iCERT website. According to AILA, The U.S. Department of Labor has been sending the following e-mail to many LCA submitters: “Due to an unusually high volume of submitted cases, one or more Labor Condition Application cases you submitted recently was certified but the courtesy email informing you of the certification was not generated. Please log into the iCERT Visa Portal System to review your recently submitted cases and retrieve the certification(s).”