Delays in U.S. Department of Labor iCert System11 Nov 2013
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) iCert system has, of late, been exhibiting some intermittent technical problems. The iCert system is used for a number of immigration-related processes, including labor condition applications (LCA), which are necessary for the H1B process, and PERM labor certification cases. The recent glitches appear to be tied to the spike in usage by applicants who were unable to access the system during the government shutdown.
iCert Unavailable During Government Shutdown
The iCert system was completely unavailable during the government shutdown, which lasted October 1-18, 2013. The DOL recently made an announcement including guidance and accommodations for cases impacted by the iCert unavailability during the shutdown. More details on this announcement are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, DOL Guidance on Post-Government Closure Issues.
Reopening Leads to High Volume of iCert Filings
Now that the government shutdown has ended, many are anxious to move forward with their immigration matters, and must use iCert to do so. The system has been experiencing intermittent problems, however, that are related to high volume usage and ongoing system maintenance. The iCert WebSite notified potential users on October 21, 2013, the first business day following the end of the shutdown, that the web application was unavailable due to maintenance to handle the high traffic. The system had been somewhat operational on that day, although quite slow. On October 24th, the iCert system was again nonoperational, but then brought back online. A few days later, on October 29th, the system was down yet again. On November 1st, the DOL announced that iCert would be unavailable from the evening of November 7th, until early morning on November 8th. Prior to that, on November 4th, the iCert case status check and Labor Certification Registry were not available.
Continuing Problems with iCert in Oct & Nov 2013
The result of these outages are most evident in the processing of LCAs. As LCAs are needed for H1B filings, the process is intended to be relatively fast, with a maximum turnaround time for DOL processing of seven business days. The delays caused by the government shutdown have been compounded by these iCert technical problems, resulting in the inability of many to file H1B petitions and extension of status applications.
It is fairly standard for problems to arise with online systems, and iCert is no exception. It is important to take steps to anticipate possible delays, and work sufficiently in advance to avoid the hazards associated with last-minute filings. While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and DOL have made some accommodations for cases impacted by the government shutdown, they do not have any blanket policy for more general iCert-related delays. Attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm can assist with overall immigration planning, and guide stakeholders in identifying and navigating to avoid potential obstacles.
Copyright © 2013, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved