Labor Dept. Cracks Down on PERM Fraud, Increases Audits
In response to the Department of Labor’s final rule, effective July 16, 2007, requiring, among other things, that employers pay the costs of applications filed under the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) program, Catherine L. Haight, a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney, said the risks are high for both employers and attorneys and that the Department would not hesitate to enforce the rule. She was quoted in the Daily Labor Report as noting that “[t]hey are taking this rule very seriously and are willing to consider any attempt to get around the rule as fraud.” Others suggested that the Department would seek out employers and attorneys as examples and conduct more audits of the rationale for applications to show they are serious about rooting out fraud. On the positive side, wait times have been reduced drastically. Academy of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) member firms report increasingly frequent audits, often conducted on a random basis. Sources at the Department have confirmed this trend. If audit frequency continues to climb, processing times will climb once again. ABIL will monitor this situation with the agency closely and report as further news emerges.
Ivener and Fullmer advises filing PERM applications with great care. Contact us if you need guidance.