The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released its performance report for the third quarter of fiscal year 2009 (January 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009). The report indicated that the percentage of PERM applications being adjudicated within six months of filing has significantly decreased from the same quarter in fiscal year 2008. In the third quarter of fiscal year 2008, the DOL was processing 94% of the PERM applications within six months of filing. During the third quarter of fiscal year 2009, the DOL only processed 11% of the PERM applications within six months of filing. The DOL noted that the significant change is due to “increased integrity activities to protect U.S. workers and satisfy statutory reliabilities.” The DOL stated it is currently developing new baseline targets for enhanced PERM performance measures and a new PERM integrity measure which will be implemented during the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 beginning on October 1, 2009.

The DOL also indicated that the percentage of H-2B temporary labor certification applications processed within 60 days of receipt has also significantly decreased during the last fiscal year. During the third quarter of fiscal year 2008, the DOL processed approximately 77% of the H-2B applications within 60 days. During the third quarter of fiscal year 2009, the DOL processed approximately 31% of the H-2B applications within 60 days of receipt. The DOL stated that the decrease was partially due to the revised H-2B regulations which became effective in January 2009. It indicated that current performance targets may be reassessed in the future based upon the new regulations.