The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released the new iCERT system. The iCERT system is a one-stop visa portal system which the DOL says will improve employer access to employment-based visa application services and immigration news and information. Employers or their authorized representatives can now register with the iCERT system and establish a single account to file Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) covering the H-1B, the H-1B1 and E-3 visa programs. Although the system is currently optional for LCA processing, it will become mandatory on May 15, 2009. At that time, the DOL will no longer allow employers to submit LCAs through the current system. However, the DOL will continue to allow employers to access the current system to withdraw previously filed LCAs through that system. The DOL also stated that beginning in September 2009, employers will be able to file PERM applications through the iCERT system. The DOL currently plans to make the iCERT system mandatory for PERM submissions beginning in October.

The DOL has indicated that it will take at least seven working (not calendar) days to review LCAs submitted through the iCERT system. Additionally, the iCERT system will inform employers when it believes that an employer is making an error on the application which could result in a denial of the application. However, based on initial usage, the system in some instances has been indicating potential errors which actually were not errors based on current DOL regulations. It is assumed that the DOL will modify the programming logic as it receives feedback from employers, especially when the system becomes mandatory.