Finally, both DOL and USCIS are showing a willingness to relax their requirements in an effort to help Employers timely respond to requests for information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DOL has announced the following temporary measures to allow Employers to continue to comply with its regulations:
- Extension for deadlines: DOL has extended the time for employers to respond to requests for further information in relation to prevailing wage requests and PERMs. For deadlines falling between March 13 and May 12, 2020 an Employer’s response will be considered timely if submitted by May 12, 2020.
- PERM recruitment: Under the regulations, PERM recruitment is to be completed no more than 180 days before filing Form ETA 9089 and at least 30 days before filing. DOL will now accept completed recruitment within 60 days after the deadlines have passed to enable Employers to complete the required recruitment and file the PERM application. This also applies to the in-house posting notice.
- LCA posting: When moving an employee to a new worksite within the same MSA a new LCA is not required however the original LCA must be posted at the new location. To comply with regulations this normally has to be done prior to the employee starting at the new location. However, Employers will be considered to be compliant as long as the LCA or notice is posted within 30 days of the employee starting at the new location.
In direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic USCIS has announced the following temporary measure to assist Employers/Applicants respond to RFEs and NOIDS:
- Employers/Applicants who receive an RFE or NOID between March 1 and May 1, 2020 will have an additional 60 calendar days after the response deadline.
Although DOL and USCIS are showing a willingness to relax its regulations/requirements, this is still not enough. Employees on H-1B who are nearing their expiration are still required to submit timely extensions until USCIS says otherwise. Hopefully, USCIS will soon agree to automatically extend current validity periods for H-1B employees by 30 or 60 days and/or will agree to consider extensions filed within 60 days of the original expiry date as timely.
We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will provide further updates as the situation develops. As always if you have any questions please e-mail our Senior Immigration Attorney at firstname.lastname@example.org