By Scott Decker
On January 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced plans to make available to the general public "appropriately redacted" copies of H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, H-2B, and permanent labor certification documents. These documents will be released through a new online tool called the iCERT Labor Certification Registry (LCR). The iCERT LCR will provide searchable access to copies of labor certification documents and labor condition application (LCA) documents, plus the latest quarterly and annual case file datasets for these filings. Currently, access to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC) labor certification and LCA documents typically requires submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request directly to the DOL.
Employers file documents with the DOL when seeking to obtain temporary employment visas for foreign workers through the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, and H-2B visa programs, and permanent residency for foreign workers based on the labor certification program. While the DOL has indicated that employer trade secrets and confidential information submitted with these immigration filings will be protected from disclosure, the information to be made publicly available will include data such as the employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), revenue reported by the employer, and the name, address and class of admission of the foreign worker, causing much concern to employers, given the public access to this information.
The iCERT LCR will be available to the public beginning July 1, 2013. Initially, the iCERT LCR will provide access to copies of documents issued by the DOL on or after April 15, 2009, with the possibility of more historical data and documents to be made available in the future. Once live, labor certification documents will be available on the iCERT LCR no later than two business days after the official decision is rendered.