On June 3, 2020, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification in the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration released Round 4 of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to COVID-19 issues. The FAQs note, among other things, that in the COVID-19 Round 1 FAQs, OFLC made accommodations for extensions of time and deadlines for employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that expired on May 12, 2020. OFLC has not extended these accommodations beyond May 12, 2020. The agency noted that it has remained fully operational during the federal government’s maximum telework flexibilities operating status, including the National Processing Centers, PERM System, and Foreign Labor Application Gateway System.

OFLC said employers may still request extensions under appropriate circumstances if they require additional time to respond to a deadline. Requests for extensions must clearly explain why the extension is necessary and be made on or before the date of the deadline to respond, and OFLC will decide on any such requests on a case-by-case basis.

The FAQs also note that due to service disruptions and other business operations temporarily affected by the pandemic, some employers may have been prevented from completing recruitment requirements within the 180-day timeframe. OFLC will no longer accept recruitments completed after the regulatory deadlines have passed. Any delayed recruitment associated with the extension provided in Round 1 of the COVID-19 FAQs, conducted in conjunction with the filing of an application for permanent labor certification, must have started on or after September 15, 2019, and the filing must have occurred by May 12, 2020. If this has not occurred, OFLC said, the application will be denied because the recruitment would not comply with PERM regulatory requirements.

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