The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") has released statistics about PERM labor certification applications received in the first quarter of (fiscal year) 2009, spanning October 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008. DOL completed 4,571 cases during that period. It approved 3,074 cases, denied 1,328 (somewhat over 25%), and permitted employers to withdraw 169.

DOL commented that as of December 31, 2008, 67 percent of all cases were at the final review stage, and 26 percent of all cases were under audit. DOL indicated that it was deciding regular PERM cases not in audit that were filed in June 2008, and was reviewing cases under audit that were filed in August 2007.

DOL created the PERM process with the stated mission of reducing excessive processing delays that existed with the decentralized pre-PERM labor certification model, and now the PERM-based process is beginning to edge past an eight month delay even for non-audited cases.