With the increasing backlogs in processing labor certifications in almost all regions in the U.S. and significant cutback of federal funds for the Departments of Labor, the importance of qualifying for the Reduction of Recruitment (RIR) or fast track is very important. Regular labor processing in States like California, New York and New Jersey can take as long as 2 and up to 4 years, often resulting in the foreign national having to leave the U.S. because the 6 years on H1B have run out.
In order to qualify for a RIR case, it is important for the applicant or the Company/employer to show sustained pattern of recruitment. In this connection, it is important to document all of the good faith efforts of the employer in as great as detail as possible. Of course, it is helpful if all three prongs of the test are satisfied in order to qualify for the RIR:
a. It is a shortage occupation. For example, it is recognized in most regions of the U.S. that there is a shortage of computer professionals. Some regions do not require evidence of the shortage, but most still require some proof in the form of articles or statistics to establish this fact.
b. The employer has undertaken systematic and good faith efforts (generally within the last 6 months before filing the labor certification) to attempt to locate qualified U.S. citizen and permanent resident workers for positions within its organization.
c. Generally, advertisements in the print media should be submitted even if the employer normally only uses the Internet to advertise positions in the computer field.
If the employer has a Human Resources (H.R.) Department, they or the accounting department may have a detailed list of all the newspapers and journals where the employer may have been advertising. Although our Office is often asked about the employer’s efforts to advertise on the Internet, the U.S. Departments of Labor in general do not appear to fully understand how the Internet works and seem to prefer the print media for the advertisements. Most regions in the U.S. will allow a combination of print, internet, job fairs and headhunters,employee referral fees etc. but Region IX, which includes California requires at least 1 advertisement in the print media in each of the past 6 months.
A useful point to keep in mind when presenting a RIR case is that approximately 25,000 positions are certified each year, but our economy creates between 2 and 3 million new jobs each year!
It is generally easier for large companies to succeed in obtaining RIR because of their advertising budget which can run into millions of dollars. Also larger companies can show multiple positions that are available within the organization and this helps the Department of Labor to show that U.S. citizens can also be hired for many of the positions.
Notwithstanding the ease for larger companies, smaller employers should not rule out filing RIR applications, especially in certain regions which are more flexible regarding the recruitment in an established shortage occupation.
Our Office has successfully processed innumerable RIR petitions for employers of varying sizes in different regions of the U.S. It is important to understand the different approaches and strategies in different regions of the U.S. Generally, there is no harm in attempting a RIR application because even if the Department of Labor does not allow RIR, the priority date is retained for a regular labor certification.