The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently acknowledged that within the past three months that it has significantly increased the number of audits that it is issuing in the PERM program. As of December 30, 2007, approximately 44% of the PERM applications in process were in “Audit Review.” The DOL stated that its increased audit activity is a result of its commitment to fully implement the PERM regulations and ensure the integrity of the PERM program. A majority of the audits have been focusing on employer’s minimum requirements as stated on the PERM application which exceed the DOL’s standards. However, the DOL has also begun to more agressively audit other issues in the program. Although there has only been a minor increase in the number of denials issued in the program (from approximately 20% to approximately 24%), it is assumed that with the significant increase in audits that there will be a comparable increase in the number of denials in the program.
The DOL has also indicated that it will be reorganizing its operations later this year. The DOL stated that it will be consolidating the PERM process with its Atlanta National Processing Center. It will then be shifting all of the temporary labor certification processing to the Chicago National Processing Center. Additionally, the DOL is currently hiring more staff in order to reduce its processing times, especially with Audit Reviews, Motions to Reconsider or Appeals.