We are a small immigration law firm, but we often get contracted by clients of larger firms for second opinion, under a strict confidentiality relationship. In the past few months we have been getting calls from clients or larger firms for PERM, I-140, and other related Permanent Residency cases. Sometimes, we just re assure the client that all is well, in some cases we find serious errors by the larger firms lawyers. Therefore I wasn’t surprised to hear about the following decision by the DOL just this week.
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it has begun auditing all permanent
labor certification applications filed by attorneys at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP. The department 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’s regulations specifically prohibit an employer’s immigration attorney or agent from participating in considering the qualifications of U.S. workers who apply for positions for which certification is sought, unless the attorney is normally involved in the employer’s routine hiring process. Where an employer does not normally involve immigration attorneys in its hiring process, there is no legitimate reason to consult with immigration attorneys before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers who have responded to recruitment required by the permanent labor certification program.