Monday, September 22, 2008

Labor audit frustrates companies

Some of the nation's biggest companies are expected to face delays in securing green cards for some foreign workers due to a Labor Department audit that has sparked anger in legal and business circles.

The Labor Department announced this month that it was auditing labor applications filed by immigration law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP of New York, which the department alleged had improperly advised some clients seeking permanent resident status, or green cards, for foreign workers.

People familiar with the firm said it has about 3,000 green-card applications pending on behalf of companies, including International Business Machines Corp., General Electric Co. and Bank of America Corp.

The audit is expected to delay those applications, the department said. GE said it has 70 applications subject to the audit.

"Our actions on behalf of our clients have at all times been lawful and proper," said Austin Fragomen Jr., the firm's chairman.

Gregory Jacob, the Labor Department's solicitor, said the department routinely audits applications for green cards "to ensure the integrity of the program." The audits typically delay the applications by no more than eight months, he said. The department hasn't indicated that Fragomen's clients engaged in wrongdoing.

Daily Herald | Labor audit frustrates companies
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