Labor Certification for the Permanent Employment of Aliens in the United States; Reducing the Incentives and Opportunities for Fraud and Abuse and Enhancing Program Integrity
The Department of Labor (DOL or Department) is amending its regulations to enhance program integrity and reduce the incentives and opportunities for fraud and abuse related to the permanent employment of aliens in the United States. This Final Rule includes several major provisions. It prohibits the substitution of alien beneficiaries on permanent labor certification applications and resulting certifications. The Final Rule provides a 180-day validity period for approved labor certifications; employers will have 180 calendar days within which to file an approved permanent labor certification in support of a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140 hereafter) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The rule prohibits the sale, barter or purchase of permanent labor certifications and applications. In addition, this rule requires employers to pay the costs of preparing, filing and obtaining certification. An employer's transfer to the alien beneficiary of the employer's costs incurred in the labor certification or application process is strictly prohibited. The rule makes clear an alien may pay his or her own legitimate costs in the permanent labor certification process, including attorneys' fees for representation of the alien. The rule also reinforces existing law pertaining to the submission of fraudulent or false information and clarifies current DOL procedures for responding to incidents of possible fraud. Finally, the rule establishes procedures for debarment from the permanent labor certification program. Consistent with the proposed rule, the provisions in this Final Rule apply to permanent labor certification applications and approved certifications filed under both the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) program regulation effective March 28, 2005, and prior regulations implementing the permanent labor certification program. This rule also clarifies the Department's ``no modifications'' policy for applications filed on or after March 28, 2005, under the new, streamlined PERM process.