Program Electronic Review Management process (PERM) is the process for obtaining labor certification and is the first step for foreign nationals in obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa (“green card”) through their employment. This is also known as PERM labor certification. Before a U.S. employer can file an immigration petition for a foreign worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must first obtain an approved labor certification request from the Department of Labor (DOL) for the foreign worker. The DOL must certify to the USCIS both that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment, and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
To improve the operations of the permanent labor certification program, a newly re-engineered labor certification program, the PERM program, has been developed by the DOL to replace the previous labor certification program. Therefore, PERM is an entirely new procedure for labor certification applications.
PERM took effect on March 28, 2005 and all labor certifications filed after March 28, 2005 must be filed using the PERM process. From March 28, 2005 on, traditional labor certification or RIR processing will NO longer be available for new filings. In brief, the PERM process requires the petitioning employer to conduct a series of recruitment activities to test the job market before filing the application. If no qualified and willing applicant (US citizen or Permanent Resident) is found through the recruitment process, the employer can submit the PERM labor certification.
The main distinction between PERM and the previous labor certification process is that under new PERM regulations, employers have the option of submitting the labor certification application electronically directly to the DOL and not to a State Workforce Agency (SWA). No supporting documents are submitted at the time of filing, however, the petitioning employer must conduct all required recruitment activities, and have all supporting documents ready prior to the filing. According to the DOL, an electronically filed PERM labor certification application is expected to be adjudicated in around 45-60 days unless the case is audited. If the case is selected by the DOL for auditing, the petitioning employer should submit all requested documents to the DOL within 30 days. If the employer does not respond to the audit request, the case is deemed abandoned and the employer may be required to conduct “supervised recruitment” for any future labor certification.
After the labor certification is approved by the DOL, an Immigrant Petition related to the labor certification should be filed with the USCIS before the expiration of the labor certification. The certification has a validity period of 180-days and expires if not submitted to USCIS within this period.
The Labor Certification requirement is waived for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition under EB-2 and is not required in an EB-1 petition. For more information about NIWs, please click here. For more information about EB-1, please click here.
Overall, PERM labor certification is an extremely complicated procedure and time-sensitive. We recommend that you consult with an experienced and responsible immigration attorney. We have successfully represented many PERM cases. If you would like to contact us, please telephone us at (713) 771-8433 or visit us at one of our six locations. You can also contact us conveniently online by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys will use their experience, expertise, and teamwork to ensure the highest quality of service.
For more information on PERM labor certification, please refer to the following links: