How long will my labor certification take?

Five years later - an update

Five years after we posted this analysis of DOL processing times, we can change both the "short answer" and the "long answer".  PERM is up and running  and most cases are taking less than six months.  Cases which have been appealed can take longer.  Some PERM cases are approved within days after they are submitted.   "Regular" and "RIR" cases have all been transferred to two backlog centers, and the DOL has promised that a;; will all be completed by October 1, 2007.  The DOL reports they are on track to meet this date - and our experience is consistent.  Most of our "backlog" cases have already been completed!

updated April, 2007

The DOL "Official" Processing Time Report

The short answer is "a long time."  The longer answer is, "We just don't know."

Here's why:

Because of changes in the law, the Georgia Department of Labor (Ga. DOL) received over 2000 new labor certification cases within a few days at the end of April, 2001.  This overwhelmed the  Ga. DOL. 

As of today (February, 2002) the Ga. DOL is working on cases filed on April 26, 2001 - if they were filed as RIR (Reduction in Recruitment).  "Regular" cases are taking even longer.  At the current rate, it may be the end of 2002 - or longer -  before the Ga. DOL finishes with all cases filed in April, 2001. Update:  As of April 2003, the Georgia Department of Labor has cleared the backlog in RIR cases from April 30, 2001, and now reports that cases from January 2002 are being processed.  We're leaving this page up for now, but we're very hopeful that labor certifications will be "current" very soon!


The U.S. Department of Labor has to process these cases once Georgia is finished - and also has to process other cases filed in the Region (our Region includes Florida, which has many more cases than Georgia, as well as South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee)


These backlogs are far greater than any we have ever seen - and are happening at the same time that resources are being cut both at the State and Federal level.


In the past, where smaller backlogs have occurred, the Department of Labor has dealt with them through processing changes, overtime and other means.  This may occur again.  If so, what looks like a wait today of several years may be substantially less.


We are hopeful that some means will be found to remedy this situation - but for now, the only answer we have to "how long will my labor certification take?" is "We just don't know."


Jay Solomon
February 12, 2002