Why Audits Happen and What to Expect
Upon receiving an application for a PERM labor certification, the Department of Labour (DOL) has the option of granting the certification, denying it or auditing it. An audit does not amount to a denial. All the employer has to do is respond to the issues raised in the audit letter. This is because an audit is usually a request for more information or explanation or documents to support the application.
A Certification Officer has the right to request for an audit where it appears that there are suspicious activities and information relating to the application. The audit request could be intentional, for instance, where fraud is suspected, or it could be random, as an administrative check. An employer intending to hire an immigration worker therefore, should be informed on what can trigger an audit and how to prepare for one if it happens.
Some Audit Triggers
- The foreign worker is a relative of the employer or has an ownership interest in the company.
- The foreign worker’s education, training or experience was sponsored by the employer.
- Within the last six months before filing the application (and even after) there has been strikes and layoffs relating to the specific area of employment.
- Job vacancy ads specifically asks for an immigration worker, or contains special requirements or requirements beyond what is normal for that position, e.g. foreign language.
- The job vacancy necessitates a combination of several occupations to fit the position.
- The foreign worker had made some kind of payment to the employer to make the application on their behalf.
- The foreign worker has experience is an occupation substantially different from that required for the job vacancy.
- The number of employees the employer has are less than 10.
- Minimum educational requirement for advertised position is less than a bachelor degree. Or degree and no experience.
- Where application is not filed electronically.
What to Expect
Where a CO audits an application, the employer is sent an audit letter with a list of the documents being requested for and a note to respond to the audit within 30 days otherwise the application will be denied altogether. Where it is denied in such manner, there will be no recourse available to the employer, judicially or administratively. This 30 days grace can be extended by a CO for another 30 days.
When the CO receives the employer’s response to the audit, a fresh appraisal is conducted and the application is either granted, denied or a further request for documents is made. An employer who seeks to go around this issue by simply withdrawing an application under audit would soon discover, it is impossible.
The two types of audit an employer can expect, and as mentioned above, are a random audit and a targeted audit. Sometimes, it’s probably not distinguishable. However, that shouldn’t worry an employer. An employer should focus on ensuring every action taken in relation to the PERM labor certification will not return to haunt them than the road.
Some documents that may be requested for in an audit include signed declarations, evidence of job vacancy advertisement, resumes of those who had applied for the job vacancy and recruitment report.