February 19, OFLC Releases H-2B Case Processing Information

The Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is making this public service announcement to employers who participate in the H-2B temporary nonimmigrant visa program. Since the end of December 2015, the Department has issued several public announcements concerning recent changes and significant delays in processing H-2B applications at the OFLC Chicago National Processing Center (NPC). The significant delays employers are experiencing stem from the implementation of changes in program requirements contained in the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act (enacted on December 18, 2015), and the magnitude of the increase in H-2B applications filed during the late December to early January time period. In addition, during the course of several weeks in January 2016, the OFLC experienced technical network problems with its iCERT System due to implementation of software upgrades related to mandatory security requirements, which impacted our staff's ability to process case actions in a timely manner and caused additional delays for our employer customers.

Since October 1, 2015, the OFLC has processed approximately 2,000 H-2B applications requesting approximately 45,500 worker positions. We have certified approximately 1,500 H-2B applications covering more than 36,900 worker positions. Between December 28, 2015 and February 19, 2016, the OFLC has issued more than 1,300 Notices of Acceptance (NOA) or Deficiency (NOD) on pending H-2B applications. The OFLC has expanded and reallocated resources to assist in the processing of pending H-2B applications without compromising program integrity or the processing timeframes of other visa programs. We continue to focus our efforts on reducing the number of pending cases as quickly as possible and examining administrative flexibilities to increase processing efficiency.

To help employers better understand the current processing timeframes for H-2B applications at the Chicago NPC, the OFLC is disclosing case processing information through its iCERT System at https://icert.doleta.gov, which will be updated at least weekly.