31 Jul 2019
In early June 2019, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) began rolling out the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system, a cloud-based system, which is replacing iCERT. On June 10th, OFLC started accepting applications for prevailing wage determinations (form ETA-9141) for all visa programs through the FLAG System and stopped accepting Form ETA-9141 through iCERT. As of July 3, 2019, the OFLC began accepting H-2B applications on the new form ETA-9142B solely through the FLAG system.
The FLAG system seeks to resolve weaknesses of the “decades old” systems by providing modernized tools. The touted goal of the new system is to keep pace with the latest customer filing technologies (e.g., mobile application design, digital signature). It also allows for personalization of customer accounts, forms preparation, automated alerts, and features more “robust and integrated case processing document management and reporting capabilities to maximize efficiencies for OFLC staff.” According to the OFLC, the FLAG system is also modernizing technology infrastructure that was “unstable” and unable to keep up with “increasing workload demands.”
The FLAG System will “serve as the new application filing and case management solution for all foreign labor certification programs.” According to the DOL, the FLAG System’s implementation was necessary to improve customer experience and to address security and resiliency issues of the outdated iCERT system.
According to the DOL, the FLAG System should allow for an enhanced user experience, including personalized user accounts, accessibility on mobile devices, automated field population, digital document signature, access to OFLC case decisions, and enhanced document upload. FLAG is also supposed to increase customer accessibility, provide enhanced data sharing, more seamless customer transition from the DOL to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and improved federal records storage and management.
OFLC has conducted public webinars to educate and train stakeholders on the FLAG system. The modernization efforts of the OFLC ultimately should advance the DOL’s mission of helping U.S. employers find qualified workers while ensuring protections for U.S. and foreign workers.
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