Labor Condition Applications Must Be Filed Using iCert Beginning May 15, 2009
Beginning May 15, 2009, all labor condition applications (LCAs) must be filed through the new Department of Labor (DOL) portal commonly known as iCert. An LCA is required for all H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 petitions. The electronic LCA, Form ETA-9035E, has also been revised. It is important to note that, unlike the current online process, the iCert portal does not provide instant certification of the LCA, and based on current processing, certification may take more than seven days.
Although DOL launched the iCert portal on April 15, it is accepting LCA filings through the legacy LCA system until May 14. Attorneys and employers using the new system report extensive issues with iCert. One major problem with the system is that iCert does not appear to have any additional security features, except for requiring a username and password. Due to these extensive technical problems, many users are hoping DOL will delay the phase-out of the legacy LCA system until the new system is fully functional and its technical issues are addressed.
How This Affects You
Employers should be prepared for a potential delay in filing petitions that require a certified LCA. Any delays would likely have the greatest impact on “transfer” H-1B petitions based on AC-21 portability. In the past, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has allowed such petitions to be filed with proof of submission of the LCA to DOL. To date, we have not received any information as to whether or not USCIS will again allow this.
U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates in Mexico Suspend Nonessential Services Due to Swine Flu
Due to the outbreak of H1N1 influenza, the U.S. Embassy and all U.S. Consulates in Mexico have suspended nonessential services to the public until May 6. Consular services for U.S. citizens are limited to emergency assistance and citizenship applications (passports and consular reports of birth abroad).
We will continue to monitor the situation and will update you with any new information. If you have any questions about any of the issues raised in this Morgan Lewis Immigration Alert, please contact:
A. James Vázquez-Azpiri