DOL Audits Labor Cert Applications Filed By Fragomen
The Department of Labor has decided to conduct an audit of all permanent labor certification applications filed by Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP (Fragomen). The Department alleged that it “has information indicating that in at least some cases the firm improperly instructed clients who filed permanent labor certification applications to contact their attorney before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers.” The audits will determine which, if any, applications should be denied or placed into department-supervised recruitment “because of improper attorney involvement in the consideration of U.S. worker applicants,” the Department said.
Fragomen responded in a statement released on its Web site that “DOL, by its audit, seeks to limit the right to counsel. In order to make its point, DOL presses to make a radical departure from past practice and create a new regulatory interpretation which would limit the role of employers’ attorneys and bar them from giving guidance on specific fact situations.” Fragomen noted “widespread outrage” in the business community and in the immigration bar at the Department’s “unprecedented sweeping audit and its misinterpretation of the law.” Also voicing support, Fragomen noted, are the American Immigration Lawyers Association, “which ha[s] challenged and criticized DOL’s new interpretation and also the manner in which it has publicly announced the audits,” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Fragomen said it is working to reach an agreement “that will enable us to move forward quickly to a resolution and have DOL release cases from audit in the near future, so cases will be back on track in the routine process.”