On December 22, 2006, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification announced new procedures for conversion of traditionally filed cases currently being processed at the Backlog Elimination Centers to the Reduction in Recruitment (RIR), process. The full announcement can be found here: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/backlog_faqs_12-22-06.pdf
Summary of the main points:
Why would an employer want to convert its TR case to RIR? RIR cases generally are completed and reach a disposition faster than TR cases. This enables the employer and alien beneficiary to move the case further to completion in the permanent labor certification process.
Who is generally eligible for RIR conversion under this “new” opportunity? An employer may file a request to convert to RIR if it has a currently pending TR application in one of the BECs (Dallas or Philadelphia) that meets the following conditions: ƒ The case has not already received a disposition, e.g. certification, denial; ƒ A Notice of Findings (NOF) has not been issued for the application, or a NOF has been issued but successfully rebutted at the time of sending the email request; ƒ The application is not for a Schedule B occupation; and ƒthe applicant or its attorney/agent has not received a Recruitment Report Instructions Letter from the BEC indicating that supervised recruitment has ended and providing instructions for the results.
A “hold harmless” benefit in the new guidance allows the employer to commence recruitment without concern that the BEC will initiate job order activity before the employer can submit the recruitment request along with the recruitment, making the applicant ineligible to convert. Any applicant who sends in an e-mail with the specified language before January 20, 2007, indicating its intent to request conversion of its TR case to RIR status will be granted the assurance that the RIR conversion will not be denied solely because the BEC has initiated TR recruitment activities. Therefore, the employer is free to engage in recruitment for preparation for the RIR package without the concern that the BEC will begin TR recruitment activities.
What are the steps under this opportunity?
a) No later than January 20, 2007, the applicant or its designated attorney sends an e-mail to the appropriate BEC using specified language indicating its intent to convert a TR case to RIR status. The e-mail should also contain any proposed amendments.
b) The BEC will place the applicant’s case in “hold” status pending receipt of the RIR conversion package.
c) The BEC will send the applicant a receipt e-mail with the new prevailing wage for the position upon which to base the wage offered in its recruitment, and the status of any proposed amendments, i.e., accepted or not.
d) The BEC will send the employer any resumes the BEC has received in response to any job order activity or advertisement for the employer to consider in preparing its RIR recruitment results package. (Note: This only pertains to cases where a job order activity has been initiated or advertisement was posted by the employer before the employer sent the intent to convert e-mail. In such an instance, this advertisement may be submitted for consideration as part of the RIR conversion recruitment package.)
e) The applicant engages in recruitment and prepares the RIR recruitment results report and supporting documentation (the RIR conversion package).
f) The applicant or its designated representative sends the RIR conversion package to the appropriate BEC in hard copy, by regular mail, certified mail, or mail courier, with the subject “RIR Conversion Package – [case number]” no later than April 1st, 2007. If no package is postmarked for receipt by this date, the case will be closed. These applications do not revert to the TR queue and the decision to close is not subject to appeal.
g) Once the RIR conversion package is received by the BEC, the BEC staff will evaluate the package and determine whether the case can be converted to RIR status.
h) If the case meets the criteria for RIR conversion, the case will be converted and processed as an RIR application. If the case is not eligible, or exhibits other deficiencies that make it ineligible for RIR conversion, the employer will receive a letter advising that the RIR conversion request has been denied and the case will be processed as a TR case retaining its original priority date.
What types of cases are appropriate for an RIR conversion request? Job opportunities which hav an SOC code falling into the following:
1. “In (high) demand” Occupations as listed on O*NET
2. High growth industries identified by ETA: http://www.doleta.gov/BRG/JobTrainInitiative/
3. Any position(s) identified by SWA information as in-demand or shortage occupations.
If an employer’s job opportunity has a SOC code that is not within one of these categories, the employer is not prohibited from filing an RIR conversion request, but the applicant will have to provide evidence at the time of filing the RIR conversion package that the job opportunity is in an occupational field in a demand, high growth, or shortage occupation that is appropriate for a request for a waiver of supervised recruitment.