The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) Labor Certification was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and started on March 28, 2005. It is the initial step in applying for employment-based lawful permanent residency (Green Card). The purpose of PERM is to protect U.S workers and the job market. The PERM process must prevent foreign workers from filling positions that can be filled by U.S workers. The PERM applicant is required to submit an application to the Department of Labor which shows that his/her exceptional skills cannot be replaced by a U.S worker. In this article we talk about the details of the PERM Labor Certification process.
PERM Labor Certification Requirements
- You need to have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer
- The offered wages must be equal or above the DOL prevailing wage. DOL will subject this to the specific position.
- The local job market must have been analyzed for qualified candidates. This is necessary to provide proof that U.S. workers are unable to complete the requirements of the position. This means that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position. Additional documentation relating to recruiting efforts must be provided upon request.
- The U.S. employer is obligated to maintain an audit file with proof of the recruitment efforts.
PERM Recruitment Steps
1. Place a job order with the State Workforce Agency 30 days
2. Place a job ad in 2 consecutive Sunday editions of a local newspaper with wide circulation in the area of intended employment or an ad can be placed in a relevant professional journal in lieu of 1 Sunday newspaper ad.
Any 3 additional recruitment methods given below will meet the additional recruitment requirement for professional positions:
- Job fairs
- Employer’s website
- Job search website other than your employer’s (e.g. monster.com, indeed.com)
- On-campus recruiting
- Trade or professional organization
- Private employment firms
- Employee referral program with incentives
- Campus placement offices
- Local and ethnic newspapers
- Radio and television
PERM Labor Certification Documents
- Local Labor Market Analysis (proof that U.S. workers are not capable or not eligible for holding this employment).
- Approved Documented Evidence:
- Prevailing Wage Request – the DOL utilizes the location and requirements for the position to ascertain the prevailing wage.
- Job Orders
- Newspaper Ads
- Prints of website job ads
- U.S. Employer Audit File
- Immigrant Petition
- Completed Form ETA 9089
PERM Labor Certification Process
- The U.S. employer conducts several recruitment efforts to understand the current U.S. labor market. All efforts must be documented and ready for DOL inspection.
- U.S. employer submits Labor Certification application to Department of Labor. (Form ETA 9089). This can be done electronically or by mail.
- The DOL must then verify that the applicant possesses a skill that is not obtainable in U.S. workers or that the employment needed cannot be met by a U.S. worker. The U.S. employer must provide evidence that the applicant’s employment will not negatively affect U.S. workers in related fields. This may take 120-180 days unless it is selected to be audited by the Department of Labor.
- If the petition by the U.S. employer is selected for auditing, the employer must respond with additional documentation within 30 days of the request.
- Once the Labor Certification is approved, the U.S. employer must file an immigrant petition with the USCIS before the Labor Certification expires.
- If the employer fails to complete the immigrant petition before the deadline, the case will be labeled as abandoned.
- When the I-140 is approved the applicant must register for Permanent Residence by filing Form I-485 with USCIS.
If the DOL has further questions, then your employer may get a targeted audit. The DOL also conducts random audits to keep the PERM system secure.
Perm Labor Certification Processing Time
If your employer audited, the processing time increases from approximately six months to more than one and half years in certain situations.
PERM Labor Certification Cost and Green Card Processing Fee
The DOL does not charge any fee for the PERM petition. The Labor Certification cost includes a filing fee and more. Recruitment processes and interviews of U.S candidates are further additional costs. The PERM process is entirely the responsibility of your employer
The USCIS charges $700 for filing the I-140 petition in the processing of the Green Card. This is also to be paid by your employer.
PERM Labor Certification Status
- Find your priority date
- Go to https://flag.dol.gov/ and click on Processing Times
- Scroll down past the NPWC Information and look for PERM Processing Times
- Find Analyst Review ( or Audit Review if your case has been audited)
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Program Electronic Review Management
What is the charge for filing the form I-140 ?
This is to be paid by your employer.
The purpose is to protect U.S. workers and the job market. The PERM process must prevent foreign workers from filling positions that can be filled by U.S workers.