The Reduction in Recruitment or “RIR” method of filing Labor Certification Applications has been a very popular topic in the press lately. Attorneys tout the RIR request as a much faster way of obtaining a green card than the traditional labor certification process. Although RIR is definitely faster if successful, applicants should be aware of the many procedural problems and current policies at the Department of Labor that may affect the outcome of their cases.
An RIR labor certification request requires a showing that the employer has unsuccessfully conducted his own recruitment campaign prior to filing the Labor certification application with the EDD. Generally, RIR applications are appropriate for shortage occupations, with no restrictive requirements, offering the prevailing wage for the occupation, and for which the employer has actively recruited through industry-standard sources within the six-month period immediately prior to the filing.
Region IX of the DOL, which governs California, is amenable to RIR requests for many occupations including all high-tech professionals and specialty cooks, and many positions that are not traditionally considered “shortage occupations.” For a successful RIR request, an employer must engage in ongoing recruitment for a six-month period on a local basis. Region IX requires at least one print advertisement for the job, but recent reports indicate a preference for more than one print ad, and larger companies should show even more recruitment. The advertising text need not be as specific as an EDD supervised recruitment, and need only include job title, job location, company name and where to send resumes. Once recruitment has been unsuccessful, the employer must submit a general description of the recruitment results and not a detailed statement of why any individual applicant was not offered a job.
As of December 2, 1999, Region IX reported that it is processing non-RIR cases transmitted to the DOL on August 15, 1996, with a backlog of nearly 7000 cases. At the same time, Region IX is processing RIR cases received at the DOL on October 21, 1999, which is less than three months’ processing time. Of course, many other issues need to be addressed before an RIR case should be filed. Although the RIR case can be considerably faster than the non-RIR method, if the RIR application is not approved, the case is referred back to EDD to continue as a supervised recruitment case. This result can lead to even greater delays than the standard labor certification process entails.
In Region IX Employers must engage in a well-planned recruitment campaign that complies with the DOL’s requirements, as interpreted within Region IX. The Employer and worker should be certain that hey understand all of the advantages and potential disadvantages to filing RIR requests. All in all, the employer and worker’s representative is responsible for identifying the pros and cons of seeking RIR treatment prior to the filing of any application for labor certification.