The Department of Labor (DOL) reported that as of late January 2009, it is processing unaudited PERM applications that were originally filed in June 2008. For cases referred for audit, DOL is processing cases originally filed in August 2007. For cases that are under appeal, DOL is processing cases originally filed in April 2007.
While these processing times represent a significant slowing of the processing of each category of case relative to the past history of PERM, it appears that processing times may improve somewhat. DOL stated that one of the reasons that case processing slowed in the fourth quarter of 2008 was that DOL was hiring and training contractor staff for the National Processing Center that now handles all PERM applications. As a result, only 4,571 PERM applications were completed in October-December 2008. More staff are now trained and in, January alone, 3,500 PERM applications were completed. However, DOL expects this will level off and processing rates will slow again because of the limited number of federal employees available to review the contractors' work.