NO ROOM FOR ERROR – BALCA Says 20 CFR 656.11(b) Effectively Overruled HealthAmerica

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Cook Assistant, Japanese Cuisine.”

After audit, the CO denied the labor certification stating the prevailing wage on the ETA form 9089 did not match the one listed on the prevailing wage determination (PWD). The Labor application listed “$10.04” per hour and the prevailing wage determination listed “$10.14” per hour. The Employer requested reconsideration of the denial stating the prevailing wage discrepancy was “a minor typographical error”, “a clerical mistake of minor importance,” and that “no potential applicant was exposed to the clerical error.” They cited its Notice of Filing included the accurate wage. The Employer also argued in order to correct and re-file the labor application they would have to re-start the time-consuming recruitment process all over again.

After reviewing the reconsideration, the CO affirmed its denial of certification. He believed that under the PERM regulations, “employers must present an application that is complete and accurate to ensure the integrity of the PERM process.” The CO also pointed out that “$10.04” was typed twice on the application. The CO based his decision on the 20 C.F.R. 656.10(c)(1), which requires employers to certify in applications for permanent employment certification that the “offered wage equals or exceeds the prevailing wage.” The CO forwarded the case to BALCA for review.

Upon review, the BALCA panel affirmed the denial. The panel was required to follow PERM regulation 20 CFR 656.11(b). This regulation states “requests for modifications to an application will not be accepted for applications submitted after July 16, 2007.” Although they believed the errors were typographical, the Board was not going to second guess the PERM regulation.