What You Need to Know About the PERM Labor Certification Process

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The sole route for a foreign national to receive an employment-based green card is through the PERM Labor Certification Process, also known as Program Electronic Review Management (PERM Labor Certification) (permanent residency). Employers in the United States must demonstrate throughout this procedure that there are no competent Americans available for the position and that recruiting foreign workers won’t have a negative impact on the pay and working conditions of Americans who are similarly employed.

The procedure begins with an employer submitting an application to the Department of Labor (DOL), and then it involves hiring, requesting prevailing wages, performing hiring, submitting a PERM Labor Certification form, and ultimately submitting an application to USCIS. Depending on if there are any problems along the way, the complete procedure could take anywhere from six months to two years.

What is the PERM Labor Certification Process?

The U.S. has a system for labor certification called PERM (Program Electronic Review Management). Before giving a potential foreign employee permanent employment-based green card status, the Department of Labor should examine whether there are sufficient U.S. employees available and competent to undertake a certain job.

The procedure calls for businesses to submit Form 9089, Permanent Employment Certification, to the Employment Development Division (EDD) of the Department of Labor in order to get a determination of the prevailing wage from the State Workforce Agencies in the state where the work is situated. Then, in order to encourage potential U.S. employees to apply, the employer must publish an advertisement for the position in two local newspapers or other outlets that are relevant to the employment market for at least one full business week.

Employers must also certify that they have taken additional measures to find American workers for the open position, such as using private recruitment firms or posting job openings on websites like Monster and Indeed, and that there were not enough American workers who were qualified or available to fill the position after the employer or its representatives made diligent recruitment efforts.

What is the Department of Labor PERM Processing Time?

The wait time for an authorized application is frequently a priority for companies and potential workers as the PERM labor certification procedure is the first stage in acquiring an employment-based green card. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) typical processing time for PERM certification applications ranges from 6 to 12 months, however it can take longer in some cases.

The DOL releases monthly updates on processing timelines so that both employers and employees are aware of how long their applications can take. As of November 2020, the processing time for PERM applications is from 6 to 8 months, although some situations might take up to a year or more, which can complicate the recruiting process.

Moreover, in rare circumstances, the Department of Labor may ask applicants to provide extra proof. These requests, often referred to as “PWD” or “Professional Withdrawal” requests, may extend the time it takes to process your application overall.

How do I Determine if I am Eligible for Permanent Labor Certification?

The PERM Labor Certification process is designed to make sure that hiring foreign nationals for employment-based green cards is done in a way that does not harm the U.S. labor market. In order to be certified, you must meet several criteria:

  • Full-Time Permanent Job Offer: You must have a full-time, permanent job offer from an employer that is based in the United States. The job offer must be full-time—at least 35 hours per week—and it must be an ongoing position with no predetermined end date.

  • Meet Reasonable Job Requirements: The job requirements outlined by the employer must also be “normal” and “customary,” and they cannot be designed to favor an applicant of a certain nationality or skill level.

  • Wages Must be Higher of Prevailing Wage or Actual Wage: In addition, the wages offered by the employer must be either the prevailing wage or actual wage paid by employers in the same geographic area for similar positions. The prevailing wage refers to what other employers are paying for similar positions, while the actual wage is what your employer has offered you for this role.

What Documents are Needed to File a PERM Application?

Filing for PERM Labor Certification requires that you have a complete set of documents ready. This includes:

  • A completed PERM education and employment history form
  • Copies of all diplomas, degrees, transcripts, and certificates from educational institutions attended
  • A Prevailing Wage Request to the Department of Labor
  • A copy of the job order filed with the State Workforce Agency
  • Statements or affidavits from employers verifying the two years of work experience required
  • Documentation showing employer-employee relationship (e.g. pay stubs, tax forms)
  • Documentation proving that the position requires at least two years of professional experience

It’s crucial to follow these instructions precisely and ensure that all documentation are accurate and comprehensive. An improper or incomplete file might slow down the procedure or potentially lead to your application being rejected. For these reasons, you should seek legal advice from a qualified immigration attorney before starting the PERM labor certification procedure.

What is the Cost of PERM Labor Certification?

The PERM Labor Certification Procedure can be time-consuming and expensive to navigate. The cost of an attorney to prepare and submit the I-140 petition can range from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the specifics. In addition, filing costs for USCIS documents such Forms I-485, EAD, and AP can cost up to $1,225. It costs $700 to file an I-140. Many of these costs might add up rapidly and could make it difficult to complete the process.

Before you start, it’s crucial to be aware of all potential expenditures involved with this process so that you can make the necessary plans. Partnering with legal professionals with relevant experience is crucial to ensuring that your application is granted without undue expenditure or delay.

Tips for Reducing PERM Processing Time

In order to speed up the PERM labor certification procedure, it’s crucial to submit the petition accurately. There are certain suggestions that can be used to help with this that will help you save both time and money.

  • File Early – The earlier you file, the sooner your application can be processed. Depending on the backlog of other applicants in the same category as you, this could make all the difference in when you receive your PERM labor certification.

  • Premium Processing – The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also offers premium processing of Form I-140 petitions to those who opt-in for an additional fee. The added cost is worth it if you need to make a decision on your application quicker or if you’re short on time before meeting a deadline.

  • Mitigate Risks – It’s important to work with an experienced attorney who understands PERM labor certification audit trends and how to properly mitigate risks when filing an application. This way, errors can be avoided and costly and time-consuming audits may be avoided altogether.

How Do I Make Sure My Application is Complete and Accurate?

It’s crucial to adhere to the required procedures and rules to guarantee your PERM application is thorough and precise. Businesses should spend the time necessary to create a thorough job description that accurately captures the characteristics of the occupation for which they are applying for labor certification. This job description ought to be thorough enough to meet U.S. requirements set forth by the Department of Labor (DOL), such as those relating to the amount of training and education needed for the position.

Employers must also keep in mind that job postings must be active for a total of 30 days and that candidates must have an extra 30 days to respond before being contacted for an interview. The employer’s recruitment efforts, such as job interviews and extended or rejected employment offers, should be documented at this time. For the PERM application to be granted, all supporting documentation must be submitted alongside it.

Employers can improve their chances of receiving labor certification through the PERM procedure in an average processing period of 6 to 12 months by adhering to these recommendations.

What Happens After the Labor Certification is Approved or Denied?

A U.S. company must wait for the Department of Labor (DOL) to respond after completing the second stage of the Green Card application procedure by submitting an immigration visa petition on Form I-140. Services for Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS).

If the labor certification is rejected, the employer may ask the officer to rethink their judgment or ask the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals to conduct a review (BALCA). Within 60 days, the DOL will consider each appeal and reach a conclusion.

If accepted, the petitioner has 180 days from the date of PERM approval to file the I-140 and any necessary permanent labor certifications. If all other factors are irrelevant and these documents have been submitted, USCIS will review both petitions for eligibility and may approve or deny each one separately.

The PERM labor certification process is a multi-step process that must be completed by employers seeking to sponsor foreign workers for Permanent Residence. The entire process, from filing the Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor, to filing an I-140 Immigrant Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, typically takes between 4-6 months to complete.

The bulk of the labor certification application is comprised of nine parts:

  1. Job Advertisement & Recruitment
  2. Impact Analysis
  3. Wage & Benefit Determination
  4. Filing the Labor Condition Application
  5. Recruiting Requirements
  6. Documentary Requirements
  7. Posting Notice Requirements
  8. Compliance Review & Attestations
  9. Filing the I-140 Immigrant Petition with USCIS

If all of these requirements are met correctly and in a timely manner, employers will receive their labor certification and can file an I-140 Immigrant Petition on behalf of their foreign employees that are seeking to become Permanent Residents in the United States.

Employers and job seekers must keep up with the most recent laws and regulations because the labor certification procedure, also known as The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM), is frequently changed and updated. It is advised to engage with an immigration lawyer or other legal professionals because the procedure is complex and can be challenging to manage. This will help guarantee that all filing requirements are satisfied. To get the visas or green cards required to explore employment possibilities in the US, companies and employees may need to understand the PERM labor certification procedure and its requirements.