On October 1, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it has eliminated a backlog on Permanent Foreign Labor Certification Program cases. The Program, which processes employer requests for foreign workers when U.S. workers are not willing, able, and available to fill needed jobs, suffered a dramatic backlog following statutory changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1997 and 2000. With an increase in paper applications resulting from these statutory changes, processing times rose, and in some cases applications were not processed for several years.

In the past three years, the DOL has made a concerted effort to eliminate the backlog, opening temporary facilities in Dallas and Philadelphia for the sole purpose of processing applications. Today, almost 99 percent of the backlogged cases have been processed, and the remaining cases await responses from employers. Both of the Backlog Elimination Centers have begun a transition and shutdown phase that will be completed by the end of the year.