Law Offices of Rajiv S. Khanna, P.C.
5225 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22205 USA Ph: (703) 908-4800
Arlington, VA 22205 USA Ph: (703) 908-4800
6 Byers Street
Staunton, VA 24401 USA Ph: (540) 886-6321
Staunton, VA 24401 USA Ph: (540) 886-6321
These are some sample cases from our files. It is impossible for us to present all have done past over 15 years of our practice. But these were some cases that came to mind when we started writing this column 2-3 years ago.
We filed a Form ETA 9089 Foreign Labor Certification (PERM) for a petitioner corporation and a beneficiary Software Architect. The Department of Labor sent us an Audit Notification, which functions as a Request for Evidence in these cases, requesting information on the necessity of the high level of education and experience the petitioner required for the position and details about the process the petitioner used to advertise for the position.
The information we provided seemed to be satisfactory on those points, but the DOL denied the petition, alleging that the position included a telecommuting benefit that was not included in the advertising. After we filed a Motion to Reconsider in which we argued that, in fact, the position did not include a telecommuting benefit and explained the illogical conclusion reached by DOL, they accepted our argument of government error and certified the petition. Later, USCIS approved the I-140 petition as well.
We filed an ETA 9089 Labor Certification and included a requirement of a Master’s degree. The job required no employment experience, but did require hands-on work in a university research laboratory with particular equipment. DOL denied the application, stating that training and experience requirements were in place that exceeded the employer’s true minimum requirements. We responded with an MTR/Appeal asserting that this was not an appropriate ground for denial and that no formal training was required or available in these technologies. Hands-on work in a university research laboratory does not constitute formal training, but the deficient Form ETA 9089 does not accommodate any requirements other than training and/or employment experience. DOL reopened the application.
A year and a half later, DOL issued an Audit Notification, to which we responded in full with all the required documentation. Immediately following our response, DOL denied the application for the second time, stating that the advertisements did not mention that the "employer will accept a suitable combination of education, training or experience." (i.e., “Kellogg” language). Our response, in the form of another MTR/Appeal, included arguments of the law and the PERM FAQ’s. Given that the denial reason was clearly an error on DOL’s part, we requested the case be put into the government error queue so the case would quickly be reopened and approved. In approximately one week, DOL certified the labor application.
We filed a PERM application under EB-2 for a Senior Programmer Analyst’s position early this year. Three months later, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Audit Notification. Immediately following our response, DOL denied the application, citing that our audit response did not include a copy of the job order. Our response, in the form of an MTR (Motion to Reconsider)/Appeal, included a clear exposition of the law and a BALCA decision in which the Administrative Law Judge held that the job order is not a mandatory document required to be submitted, and therefore, the denial was erroneous. Given that the denial reason was clearly an error on DOL’s part, we requested the case be placed into the government error queue so that the case would quickly be reopened and approved. Within one week, DOL certified the labor application.
It is HIGHLY unusual for a PERM case to have such a convoluted history, but here is one where success came after two denials.
We filed a PERM application under EB-2 for a Physicist’s position for which no formal training was required. The job also did not require employment experience, but did require hands-on work in a university research laboratory with a particular equipment. DOL denied the application stating essentially that the job requires training. According to them, “hands on work” is the same as formal training.
We responded with an MTR/Appeal asserting that this was not an appropriate ground for denial and that no formal training was required or available in these technologies. We submitted that hands-on work in a university research laboratory does not constitute formal training. Upon consideration, DOL agreed with us and reopened the application.
A year and a half later, DOL issued an Audit Notification. Immediately following our response, DOL denied the application for the second time, stating (incorrectly) that the advertisements were defective due to some technical reasons. Our response, in the form of another MTR/Appeal, included a clear exposition of the law. Given that the denial reason was clearly an error on DOL’s part, we requested the case be placed into an expedited review so the case would quickly be reopened and approved. To our relief and joy, within one week DOL certified the labor application.
The head-quarters for the sponsoring employer were located outside the United States. The applicant worked in the United States at a branch office, which had fewer than 5 employees. Because of the head-quarters location and the US branch office size, the DOL questioned the existence of the company in the United States. We responded with evidence of the sponsoring employer’s business in the United States and the PERM Petition was certified.
The sponsoring employer was a small company (less than 20 employees) that was sponsoring the brother of the president. The Labor Certification was audited due to the familial relationship, which is a significant issue in the PERM process. We successfully responded by proving that the relationship between the president and the applicant did not influence or affect the PERM Processing. The I-140 petition and I-485 petitions were approved, and the applicant received his permanent residency.
In a case decided yesterday, we had filed an appeal to BALCA against a PERM denial by the Certifying Officer (“CO”). The ground for denial was that the Job Order did not provide the exact salary offered to the foreign worker. We showed in our appeal that the fault lay with the Job Order form of the State Workforce Agency. The form did not permit us to enter the higher end of the wage range for our job, where we had offered a wage range instead of an exact figure. The CO appears to have agreed with us and has withdrawn denial and certified our case.
We had a Labor certification case filed for an IT professional. The requirements were Bachelor's degree and 5 years of experience. We filed I-140 under EB-2 category. After approximately 8 months, USCIS sent us an RFE saying Bachelor's plus five years would not qualify under EB2 unless the experience required is progressive in nature. We knew that USCIS was wrong under the circumstances of the case, but an argument with the government was unnecessary because the EB-3 priority dates were then current. In the RFE, the employer was also given an option of changing the classification to EB3. After discussion it was decided that employer will accept EB-3 classification since the priority dates for EB-3 category were current. Then the EB3 and EB2 priority dates slipped back.
Recently when the EB-2 PD became current for our client, we applied again for an EB-2 I-140 using the same labor certification.
The I-140 approval was received along with the I-485 approval notice.
We have recently been able to successfully reopen a labor certification and get the case approved after it had been closed because of what we feel were errors by two previous lawyers retained by employer. Our client had her case denied and closed over ONE YEAR ago. We were retained for a consultation and in-depth review. It appeared obvious that the employer and the employee were not at fault. It took some effort but the facts were compelling enough that USDOL reopened the case in the interest of justice. The case was approved last week. We truly appreciate the fairness shown by USDOL.
We filed an ETA 9089 (PERM) Petition by mail in July 2008, as the advertisements were expiring and DOL had a delay in registering the company's PERM account. A denial was issued on the grounds that the advertisements and prevailing wage were expired when the case was received for processing. Further inspection noted a typographical error by DOL in the year the case was received. Our office was able to correct this matter without going through the normal process of filing a Motion to Reconsider, therefore saving the client hundreds of dollars in legal fees and a year or more processing time for MTR's with the DOL.