The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on May 14 that it will keep the old Labor Condition Application (LCA) system available through June 30 (see http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/), thus delaying the switch to the new iCERT system. Deactivation of the old system had been scheduled for May 15. As reported in Ogletree Deakins’ May 12, 2009 E-Alert, the new iCERT system has been experiencing significant issues that slow electronic processing of LCAs, which could delay an employer’s ability to file and process H-1B, E-3 and H-1B1 petitions/applications. Numerous reports of problems have arisen during the testing phase of iCERT, with processing commonly failing to meet the seven-day turnaround required by regulation. The iCERT processing issues were likely a primary consideration of the DOL in extending the old system, which typically processes the LCA virtually instantaneously.
The extension of the old system is good news for employers seeking to hire or extend the status of H-1B, E-3 and H-1B1 workers as delays in hiring caused by slow LCA processing can now be averted. Hopefully, the delay will also allow the DOL sufficient time to correct glitches in the iCERT system and enable same-day processing of LCAs beginning June 30.