In the adjudication of permanent labor certification cases, the US Department of Labor (DOL) said that it will increase its scrutiny of PERM applications even further by conducting more integrity checks, meaning more audit investigations and more supervised recruitment. The DOL’s current objective is to conduct integrity checks on 30% of all PERM applications it receives. The DOL uses two methods for conducting integrity checks: audit investigations and supervised recruitment.
The DOL can order an audit of any PERM case. Some audits are commenced at random, while others are commenced due to the presence of certain triggers. During an audit, the DOL makes a request to the employer for documentary evidence to support the PERM application and verify that the employer has complied with all statutory and regulatory requirements.
When conducting supervised recruitment, the DOL directs the employer to conduct further attempts to recruit qualified US workers. During this phase, the DOL will receive job applications instead of the employer.
Integrity Review Triggers
Employers can carefully craft the PERM application to reduce the chance of triggering an integrity check. There are several factors that can trigger DOL integrity review, some of which are:
- The position does not require at least a bachelor degree
- The position requires a bachelor degree without prior work experience
- The position requires travel
- The requirements of the position identify it as being low-skilled
- No one has applied for the position
- The position offers a high salary but requires low education or experience
- The position has a language requirement
Impact of Integrity Review
A PERM application that is subjected to audit will take an average of 224 days to be adjudicated and has about a 40% chance of denial. Applications subjected to supervised recruitment will take an average of 300 days for adjudication and will be denied about 67% of the time. In light of the DOL’s announced intention to increase integrity review, employers can reduce the chances of DOL scrutiny by carefully crafting the PERM application. Retaining legal counsel experienced in the labor certification process may prove to be invaluable.