Thanks to iCert, the new “and improved” online system for filing Labor Condition Applications, H-1B applications are now taking longer than ever. The new system was rolled out a few months ago and its use became mandatory as of July 1, 2009. As many of you already know, an H-1B petition can only be filed once a Certified LCA has been granted. In my own experience the old system worked well and Certifications were almost always instantaneous. No more. Under iCert, adjudication of LCA’s are taking anything from 1 to 3 weeks. Further, many more applications are being subjected to additional scrutiny; thereby causing even further delay. This poses a huge problem for my clients at Institutes of Higher Education. The immediate effect for these clients is that they cannot rely upon their last-minute hires receiving visas in time for the start of the academic year in September.
The moral of the story – this is yet another example of the immigration system “fixing something that is not broken”. To all my academic clients, please take heed and be sure to begin the process of obtaining immigration authorization for your new hires as early as possible.