US: Delays in LCA Approvals and H-1B Filings
The Department of Labor (DOL) has implemented a new iCERT system that will allow users to set up one account and utilize that account to file Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) for H-1B petitions and to file PERM labor certification applications. Currently, the iCERT system is only available for purposes of establishing user accounts and filing the new LCA (Form 9035E).
The DOL previously postponed the date for mandatory iCERT system use for LCAs. The delay allowed for the continued use of the existing LCA system through June 30, 2009 while the DOL fixed problems identified by users during the initial implementation.
The old system will be taken down at the end of day on June 30, 2009, and the new iCert system will become mandatory beginning July 1, 2009. Under the iCERT system, LCAs filed will take up to seven business days for certification. From a practical standpoint, this means that the timeline for filing an H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 petition will increase since these petitions must be filed with certified LCAs. Instead of being able to obtain a certified LCA instantly, as is generally possible with the current system, employers will need to wait up to seven days to obtain the certified LCA. This will most dramatically affect the process of H-1B portability, which enables a new hire in H-1B status to start working upon the filing of an H-1B petition by a new employer on his or her behalf.
Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP