Regulatory Comment: DOL Should Allow Attorneys to Register for PERM Labor Certification Accounts

Fairfax Immigration Attorneys Challenge Department of Labor

Attorney Mark Stevens submitted a regulatory comment challenging the Department of Labor’s practice of prohibiting attorneys from registering for online accounts on behalf of their clients:

“I write in response to the request for comment published by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) on February 3, 2015 (80 Fed. Reg. 5715).

I am an immigration attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. I have helped many employers apply for labor certifications from DOL.

I would like to comment on DOL’s practice of requiring employers to register for PERM accounts on their own, without the assistance of attorneys. The practice imposes a needless burden on employers attempting to sponsor foreign nationals for permanent residence.

DOL prefers to receive labor certification applications electronically. To file electronically, the employer must register for an online account at DOL requires employers to register for this account on their own, without help from attorneys.

In a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” published on April 7, 2005 (attached, and available online at AILA InfoNet Doc No. 05041463), DOL responded to the question “Can an attorney, agent or law firm register to use the Permanent On-line System?” DOL’s response was “No, only an employee or owner of the employer entity may register to use the Permanent On-line System because employers must make the attestations required for the permanent application process and a PIN will only be assigned to an employer.” DOL said it would cancel registrations submitted by non-employers.

The PERM website is arcane and requires the input of obscure information that employers may not know, such as NAICS code. Employers need help registering for online PERM accounts. I have spent many hours walking employers through the registration process over the phone (since DOL has also said that the registration may not be performed from an attorney’s office). DOL’s practice of preventing attorneys from registering for accounts deprives employers of necessary help and violates the right to counsel.

The explanation for this practice offered in the FAQ does not justify the burden. Attorneys regularly help their clients fill out forms and make necessary attestations. Attorneys are capable of registering for the PERM online account and submitting the employer’s email address to DOL so the employer receives the PIN number. This is the type of thing attorneys do every day. Further, the employer must physically sign the approved labor certification before any audit by DOL and again before submitting the approved labor certification to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so it is impossible for an attorney to cut an employer out of the attestation process.

Helping employers register for accounts and fill out forms is the type of thing attorneys do every day. DOL should not exclude attorneys from this particular part of the PERM process.

I urge DOL to allow attorneys to register for PERM accounts on behalf of employers.”

Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Attorneys dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (800) 929-7142, or fill out our contact form.