On October 21, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a statement regarding special mailing procedures that will be implemented for H-2A Certifications due to delays caused by the government shutdown between October 1 and October 17, 2013. As a result of the unique perishable nature of agricultural commodities in the H-2A program, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will temporarily (for a period not to exceed 30 days) implement the following mailing procedure:
- Upon certification of an H-2A application, the Chicago National Processing Center will send the employer and its authorized representative an Adobe PDF of the Labor Certification via e-mail. The employer would need to print, sign and date the PDF version for submission to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with the I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker(s).
- The original (secure) H-2A Labor Certification will be delivered overnight to the employer or its authorized representative in line with normal OFLC practices.
In the meantime, many DOL-related questions resulting from the shutdown remain, such as how to avoid a PERM denial for a case that is ready to be filed but for a prevailing wage that expired and/or recruitment that went stale during the shutdown. The OFLC Help Desk has indicated that PERM applications, where the automatic sponsorship survey was required to be submitted during the government shutdown period, will be adjusted to provide an additional seven days to complete the survey through the PERM online system. Applicants will be notified when the case adjustment has been completed.