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.
USDOL had denied a series of cases for many employers represented by various law firms. The ground of denial was that when "engineering" was one of the acceptable majors for an IT job, that created too much ambiguity for a case to be approved. DOL stated that there are fields of engineering, such as Agricultural Engineering, which are clearly inapplicable to IT positions.
This ruling had become a nation wide issue.
We filed an MTR pointing out the defects, legal and factual, in the ruling. We also indicated our willingness to litigate this highly unfair ruling in federal courts. DOL has, most appropriately, reversed their decision.
We represented a consulting company and their employee, a Senior Quality Assurance Analyst. USDOL had denied PERM certification after an audit holding that we had failed to submit tear sheets from our Sunday advertisements. We filed the appropriate motion establishing that it was highly likely, if not certain, that the tear sheets were in fact submitted. We provided evidence from our files, affidavits, and proof of our firm’s normal business practice.The case was approved in less than three weeks.
We represented a technology consulting services corporation and a Senior Programmer Analyst employed by the firm. We submitted electronically the applicant’s labor certification (PERM) to the USDOL. They denied certification without a request for explanation or audit. The USDOL denial alleged that the employer was required to show on the ETA 9089 (the PERM form) what methodology was used for the foreign degree evaluation. We responded with appropriatemotion showing that this was clearly government error and a violation of due process. The forms provide no way of stating this information. We further presented several legal arguments and cases in support of our clearly justified position. Unfortunately, there is no way to spare anguish and uncertainty inflicted upon our clients, but USDOL did recognize the error and moved to correct it.
The case was approved within four weeks.
We represented an IT consulting company and a Technical Project Lead employed by them. The PERM was selected for supervised recruitment. USDOL denied certification, alleging that the employer rejected a potentially qualified U.S. applicant without an interview. This is one of the cases where our firm’s knowledge of various fields, including IT, paid off. The job offered required high-end database experience. The job applicant possessed only MS Access experience. We established on the record that MS Access experience could not possibly translate into working with high-end databases in multi-million dollar projects. We submitted copious amounts of evidence, including data from federal government IT deployments and case law. We argued that the U.S. applicant was not qualified, could not possibly qualify for the position, and that an interview was not required because hiring the U.S. applicant would necessitate an unreasonable amount of on-the-job training.
The case was approved in about two weeks.
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.