Paying for PERM - Proposed Rules Coming Up!

February 21, 2007 - As part of the roll-out of its proposed fiscal 2008 budget, the Department of Labor announced that it will be seeking authority from Congress to charge fees to cover the program costs of PERM.

How Can It Do This?

The imposition of user fees was authorized by Title V of the Independent Offices Appropriations Act of 1952 (31 U.S.C. 9701). Executive-branch guidance for charging user fees for "activities that convey special benefits to recipients beyond those accruing to the general public" can be found in OMB Circular A-25, issued July 8, 1993.

Why Now?

For many years, DOL has been talking about charging a fee for the labor certification process. It appears that many new fees are being proposed this year in conjunction with the Administration's fy 2008 budget proposal, and DOL is joining the bandwagon. Unfortunately, the fee proposal comes hard on the heels of a proposal by USCIS to radically increase its fees, leaving an overall effect of a proposed dramatic hike in government fees for going through the immigration process. It does not appear that the two agencies coordinated their efforts-each seems surprised at the other's actions. But that does not change the impact of putting the permanent residence and citizenship process out of the reach of more people-particularly those in low-wage occupations and their small business employers.

What Now?

AILA already is working with coalition partners and allies to oppose the proposed severe increase in USCIS fees.