PROPOSED RULE ON LABOR CERTIFICATION SUBSTITUTIONS
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (DOL) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with request for comments to enhance program integrity and reduce the incentives and opportunities for fraud and abuse related to the permanent employment of aliens in the United States. The proposed rule:
1) eliminates the current practice of allowing the substitution of alien beneficiaries on permanent labor certification applications and resulting certifications;
2) establishes a 45-day limit for employers to file approved permanent labor certifications in support of a petition with the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS);
3) expressly prohibits the sale, barter, or purchase of permanent labor applications and certifications, as well as other related payments; and
4) includes provisions highlighting existing law pertaining to submission of fraudulent or false information, clarifying current DOL procedures for responding to possible fraud, and adding procedures for debarment from the permanent labor certification program.
These provisions would apply to permanent labor certification applications and approved certifications filed under both the PERM procedures effective March 28, 2005, and any prior regulation implementing the permanent labor certification program. Comments on the proposed rules are due by April 14, 2006.
SCHEDULE A HEALTHCARE WORKERS
According to a State Department update, there are currently about 20,000 Schedule A visa numbers remaining. The category is expected to remain "current" through the end of FY 2006. A cut-off date may be established at some point during the first quarter of FY 2007. However, this scenario is subject to change according to changes in demand patterns.
For Updated Guidance for Schedule A Blanket Labor Certification, click here.