New Department of Labor Filing Fees for Employers under New Budget Proposition
Very recently, President Trump has requested the authority to establish fees for the adjudication of labor certifications and prevailing wage requests. This request comes from a suspicion that employers seeking to hire foreign workers are not acting in the best interests of American workers. These new fees would be retained by the DOL. By doing this, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), which handles PERM labor certification, LCAs for H-1B and H-1B1 and E-3 applications, H-2A and H-2B labor certifications and prevailing wage determinations, would eventually become self-funded (like the USCIS). The President’s budget proposal states that such fees would “ensure that employers proposing to bring in immigrant workers have checked to ensure that American workers cannot meet their needs and that immigrant workers are being compensated appropriately and not disadvantaging American workers.” The underlying assumption here is that adding fees will protect American workers from displacement by foreign labor.
Regarding immigration cases that require Labor Certification, It is interesting to note that 37,000 fewer Cap H-1B cases were filed this year – down to 199,000 from 236,000 last year. In fact, this is the first time in the past five years that the number of applications has decreased rather than increase. Also this year, the filing fee for H-1B petitions was increased by $135 from $325 to $460, and beginning last year H-1B dependent employers were obliged to pay an additional $4,000 fee. It is possible that the fee increases have been a factor to the decrease in applications and, if so, additional Department of Labor fees may be part of the Trump administration’s general plan to attempt to reduce abuse in the H-1B and green card process. Adding DOL fees may achieve this goal, but consulting firms may simply adapt their business models and move more jobs off-shore. Since the proposed fee amounts are not yet known, there is no way to predict a negative or positive effect in the near future. The expectation is that the fees would be set by regulation. On the plus side for employers, expedited processing fees might become available, like the “premium processing” option that I-129 and other petitions allow.
Buda Law Group is very experienced in all PERM, H1B, and E cases, and is ready to adapt to these incoming changes for your immigration petition as soon as they are announced. Feel free to contact us for more information or any questions you might have.
John B. Buda, Esq.
1201 W. Huntington Dr. Suite 209
Arcadia, CA 91007