The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that, as of September 30, 2007, it has completed nearly 99% of its backlog in processing cases filed under the Traditional and Reduction in Recruitment styles of Permanent Labor Certification applications. DOL confirmed that the remaining applications are awaiting responses from employers and expects to complete all processing in December.

For many employers, this means the end of their leftover applications and the exclusive use now of the PERM-style labor certifications. While this is good news because of the quicker processing being experienced in PERM cases, it also means the end of some employees' "safe haven" for the extension of H status based solely on long-pending labor certifications. Employers should therefore start the labor certification process for employees well in advance of the fifth year of H status for their workforce.