The DOL Employment and Training Administration issued a Training and Guidance Letter on October 6, 2006, extending the time in which a permanent labor certification application originally filed under traditional processing procedures (TR case) can be converted into a case processed following the "reduction in recruitment" (RIR) procedures.

A subsequently-issued FAQ explains the mechanics of a "hold harmless" or "safe harbor" recruitment period for converting traditional labor certification cases to RIR. By taking advantage of the “hold harmless” opportunity, an employer is guaranteed that the Backlog Elimination Centers (BECs) will not deny the employer’s RIR conversion request simply because the BEC has initiated job order activity for TR case recruitment. Rather, in cases where a BEC has received notice of the employer’s intent to convert to RIR processing, the recruitment of the case will be held in abeyance until the end of the specified conversion window, thereby allowing the employer to comply with the recruitment for RIR purposes and submit the RIR package in a timely manner.

Employers were required to submit all requests to convert TR applications currently pending at one of the BECs to RIR by January 20, 2007. Upon receipt of the notice of intent to convert, the BEC will place the case on “hold” until the RIR conversion package is received. The BEC will send the applicant an e-mail with a new prevailing wage to be used for recruitment purposes, as well as the status of any proposed amendments (i.e., accepted or not accepted). Where applicable, the BEC also will send the employer any resumes received in response to any job order activity or advertisement. Complete RIR conversion packages must be submitted no later than April 1, 2007.

The BEC will then evaluate the RIR package and determine whether the case can be converted to RIR status. If eligible for RIR conversion, the case will be processed according to RIR procedures. If the case is not eligible for RIR conversion, the employer will receive a letter denying the RIR request and the case will be processed as a TR case, retaining its original priority date.

For additional information, please see the FAQs at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/backlog_faqs_12-22-06.pdf