The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance concerning the effects of the government shutdown on employers’ ability to file applications and other submissions as part of the PERM process. With no information about how DOL would handle time-sensitive submissions during the shutdown, some employers submitted filings uncertain whether they would be received, while others delayed filings until the shutdown ended. These guidelines appear to be a fair and reasonable way to handle PERM applications, audit responses, and prevailing wage determinations that could not be received between October 1, 2013 and October 18, 2013. DOL advises that:
PERM applications that were hand delivered, mailed, or emailed between October 1, 2013 and October 18, 2013 will be considered received on October 18, 2013. These cases will therefore have a priority date of October 18, 2013. Priority dates are used to establish a foreign national’s “place in line” in the annual allotment of immigrant visas for green cards. If the received date of October 18, 2013 means that the prevailing wage or recruitment would have expired, the PERM application will nevertheless be considered timely filed.
PERM applications that were not filed during the shutdown period and for which the recruitment or prevailing wage determination has expired, will still be considered timely filed if received no later than November 14, 2013. Other responses that were not filed during the shutdown, including audits, employer sponsorship confirmations, and supervised recruitment responses will also be considered timely filed if received by DOL no later than November 14, 2013.
DOL has not provided any guidance on the other consequences that could arise from a delay in establishing a priority date, such as extension of H-1B status beyond the initial six-year period, since this would fall under the jurisdiction of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).