Question: I understand that the new PERM applications can be submitted online. However, where the employer has established a sub-account for an attorney or agent is the attorney or agent permitted to submit applications on-line?

Answer: Yes, attorney or agent may submit applications under the following circumstances. An employer must complete the registration process as explained at http://www.plc.doleta.gov, including the initial log-in. During the initial log-in, the employer will change the employer’s temporary password (as assigned by the system during registration) and once logged-in, the employer can establish a sub-account for an attorney or agent. The employer will select a username for the attorney or agent, and the system will assign a temporary password. The attorney or agent will receive an e-mail with the username, temporary password, and the employer’s PIN. When the attorney or agent logs in and changes the attorney’s or agent’s password, the attorney or agent is then permitted to complete and submit applications on-line on behalf of the employer using the PIN of the employer in whose name the application is being filed.

Question: Are there any circumstances under which mailing in a labor certification application would prove more successful than electronically submitting an application on-line?

Answer: No, mailing-in an application will not prove more successful, as the mailed-in application, upon receipt at the National Processing Center, is date stamped. Until the application is data entered into the system by a data entry person (using the exact information shown on the form 9089), processing will not begin on the application. Once entered in the system, the mailed-in application receives the exact same automated analysis and manual scrutiny as an application submitted electronically. If there are two identical applications, one submitted electronically and one mailed-in, there will be no difference in how they are processed. The only difference will be in processing time; a mailed-in application will take longer, as not only mailing but also the data entry time will be involved. Remember: the on-line system will identify mistakes (e.g. entering four digits for a zip code instead of five digits) before allowing the application to be submitted, but the data entry person must enter the information exactly as shown on the application; a mistake on the form may trigger an audit or denial.

Question: Are there some tips you might have to get the process done quicker?

Answer: DOL verifies the existence of each employer that attempts to register. At first, this process went very quickly and employers received their PIN numbers and passwords sometimes within hours. Now that more employers are registering, it is taking an average of two weeks to get feedback on a registration. Because of the length of time it’s taking to register an employer, some are attempting to register multiple times, thus exacerbating the problem.

In many cases, DOL is sending back emails indicating that it cannot verify the employer’s existence and/or asking for documentation to verify that existence. DOL provided some pointers to avoid these requests or, if received, to respond to them:

On the form, please make sure that the company’s Headquarters address is included as the company address. You can put the address of the office where the beneficiary will work in the appropriate box, but it’s the overall corporate address that is pivotal on the “existence check”.

Avoid “doing business as (dba)” names wherever possible, and instead use the company’s legal name. The dba may complicate an existence check.

For companies that have several EINs, please use the EIN that the company had when it filed its articles of incorporation. If a separately incorporated subsidiary is registering, do use that subsidiary’s EIN, but don’t use a different EIN if the employer is just a division, or otherwise is not a legally separate entity.

The DOL recognizes that the Form SS-4 may not be readily available to some employers. If you’ve received a request for documentation to verify the employer’s existence that requests a Form SS-4, the DOL indicates that it will accept the employer’s most recent quarterly tax return instead. It has recently changed its requests to include that option, but if you received one of the old requests that give no alternative to the Form SS-4, please be advised that the quarterly tax return is nonetheless an option.

To create a sub-account for an attorney, the employer must log on using the designated PIN and password and create the account.

The employer can view all filings prepared by attorneys for which it has set up sub-accounts, but an attorney can view only the applications he or she has done, and cannot view any filings done by the employer or its other attorneys.

Because DOL wants the employer to be answerable for the process, an attorney will need to have a separate user account and password for each of its client companies. DOL realizes the difficulties this presents in managing multiple passwords, but is insistent on this system.

When an employer registers, it gets two emails, one providing the PIN and one providing a password. The employer is then supposed to log on and change the password to one of its own choosing. DOL notes that some employers have been simply forwarding the PIN and password to the attorney, and then the attorney logs in and changes the password. The employer then loses control of the account, as it no longer has control of the password. DOL asks that employers make the password change themselves, as DOL want the employer to maintain control of the master account.

Some employers have been having trouble receiving the emails with the PINs and passwords because of their spam filters. Because they come in two consecutive emails from the same sender—Dept. of Labor—some spam filters clear the emails out into the spam box. This, apparently, is a particular problem with those who use AOL as their ISP. One solution DOL suggests (apart from checking your spam box) is to create a free email account on Yahoo or hotmail for this purpose and thereby bypass the AOL filters. You might also be able to turn off some of AOL’s spam blocking.

Therefore, it seems as though it might take some time to get used to, but once familiar, it should go faster.

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PERM: The Online Perm System