The processing times in the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) PERM program have significantly increased over the past few months. In the past, the DOL was completing the initial review of PERM applications within approximately three months. However, the DOL is currently taking approximately six months to complete the initial review of PERM applications. The DOL has indicated that the increased processing time has been due to an increase in the number of PERM applications it has been receiving. The increased processing time may also be due to the U.S. government's overall sequestration which has forced government employees to take furlough days.
Additionally, the number of audits and denials in the PERM program has significantly increased. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 (October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013), the denial rate in the PERM program was approximately 16%. This denial rate close to doubled to approximately 30% in the third quarter of fiscal year 2013. Furthermore, the processing times of audits have significantly increased. The DOL is still reviewing audits of some PERM applications initially filed during August of 2012.