July 2, 2009
Starting yesterday, Department of Labor required all LCA filings to be completed on its new system, iCERT. The iCERT system was launched in April 2009 with mandatory use to begin on July 1. Over the past 2 months, ILG has been testing out the new iCERT system for actual LCA filings to become proficient. In all LCA filings under iCERT, the time to certification was at least one week. Due to the fact each H1B petition must be filed with a certified LCA, the new system will likely lead to a longer case preparation period. However, with advanced planning, delays can be lessened or avoided. We offer the following suggestions:
Use "blanket LCAs": Blanket LCAs are LCAs for multiple openings of the same position which can be prepared ahead of time and used as the openings are filled with H-1B candidates. For example, if a blanket LCA is certified for 10 "Software Engineer" positions, the same employer can file up to 10 H1Bs for Software Engineers using the same pre-certified LCA.
Provide job details to the attorney ASAP. If a blanket LCA isn't available, sending the job information to the attorney will enable him/her to prepare the LCA first (employee information is not required to certify an LCA). The job details needed are: job title, job description, worksite(s), and offered salary.
Closely monitor the expiration dates of H1B employees and begin H1B extension processes six-months prior to expiration dates.
LCAs already certified under the previous system remain valid and can continued to be used for H-1B filings.