Everyone has probably heard of an audit. They are often discussed in the news in relation to an individual’s income tax paying records. Often these tax paying records will be full of nefarious activities that allow the individual to pay less tax on their income than they rightfully should. It is probably for this reason that the process of auditing has such a dark and scary image around it. It is present for individuals and businesses in just the same way, as auditing of a company’s records is also a common occurrence.
The fear of being caught for something unlawful lurks around every activity pertaining to taxes, business transactions, and of course permanent labor certification papers. This fear is rather unfounded because an audit is just the activity of checking to make sure all the information in the application is valid. The DOL is sure to monitor the PERM process closely, as that is their job. However, due to the huge volume of applications they get each year, they are not able to look closely at each and every one.
They rely on an auditing system to keep domestic employers in line with the law. There is a lot of information that must be shared in a PERM application file, and the information must be shared in a certain way, at a particular time. If an employer does not follow the specifics of the information required or the timeline, the DOL might decide to audit them. It is advisable for each applicant to prepare as much background information as they possible can to ensure that, if they are audited, they will not be missing any pieces of the puzzle.
An audit will be one of two kinds: a random audit or a targeted audit. Random audits are essentially picked at random from a batch of applications. While it is difficult to prepare for a random audit, there are a few factors that increase the likelihood of a random audit. Some of these factors include:
- If the job lists a Master’s Degree or less as a educational requirement
- The alien is owner of stock in the company
- The alien is a relative of the employer
- The alien appears under-qualified
Targeted audits are usually given to applications that are lacking in more than two areas. A popular area of issue is the recruitment/ads component, a portion of the permanent labor certification process that many employers do improperly. Working with a PERM marketing company will ensure a complete application, including putting all the right information on the job posting and conducting sufficient local recruitment. Little things often make a big difference for the DOL. For example, one of the recruitment requirements is for a job posting to be listed in the weekend edition of a newspaper with high circulation. Clarifying with the DOL what ‘high circulation’ means in a given region will prevent any misunderstandings and possible auditing. Auditing adds approximately nine months to the standard processing time.