PERM Labor Certification Application Process

Filing an application for PERM labor certification involves a thorough review of the following aspects of a job position and the prospective alien employee a petitioning U.S. employer would like to fill it:

  • Alien beneficiary’s qualifications
  • Employment setting
  • Wording of job requirements
  • Detailed arrangement of and follow-up taken on recruitment schedules
  • Employer’s compliance with recruitment procedures
  • Relevant documentation, including technical information, provided

The process an employer must take when filing a labor certification application is extensive and detailed. We describe the steps involved below:

  • An employer first agrees to sponsor an alien beneficiary for a PERM labor certification application.
  • The employer then retains an immigration attorney for the purpose of filing the application, and thereby establishes an attorney-client relationship.
  • The employer’s attorney collects the required information, which includes, among other items, a detailed job description and the alien beneficiary’s qualifications and work experience.
  • Prior to starting recruitment, the petitioning employer registers on the PERM online filing system, following the attorney’s instructions and guidance, and assigns a sub-account to the attorney.
  • Next, the attorney communicates with both the employer and prospective alien employee, drafting appropriate job descriptions and determining the requirements for the position based on a collaborative discussion.
  • The attorney obtains a prevailing wage determination from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC).
  • The attorney finalizes then job recruitment advertisements, which include the job title, job duties, and job requirements.
  • With assistance from the attorney, the petitioning employer arranges the recruitment schedule and advertises the job via proper internal and external media, in accordance with U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. (Click here to review the requirements for recruitment.)
  • The employer takes the pains to document all recruitment activities, which must be completed within a period of 30 to 180 days prior to submitting the application.
  • During recruitment, the petitioning employer screens and reviews U.S. workers’ job applications and conducts phone or in-person interviews with any applicants that meet the minimum job requirements. (Note that the attorney only answers legal questions relevant to this process; he or she does not participate in reviewing or vetting job applicants.)
  • If a sufficient number of qualified U.S. workers is not found for the position, then the employer is eligible to submit a PERM application.
  • Next, the attorney works on recruitment reports, which are based on documentation the employer collects and maintains during recruitment.
  • Once the reports are finished, the attorney prepares the online PERM application and provides a copy to the employer and the prospective alien employee for review before filing.
  • After the employer and alien have reviewed the application, the attorney submits it. The date DOL receives the labor certification application is known as the filing date. For U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Department of State (DOS) purposes, this date is considered the priority date. The attorney receives an e-mail from DOL confirming receipt of the application.
  • If DOL finds that the employer conducted the required recruitment and found no qualified and available U.S. workers for the position, DOL will approve the employer’s application within 45 and 90 days of the filing date. In some cases, an employer’s application is approved after only a handful of days.
  • If DOL finds the application suspicious or randomly selects it for extra review, the application will undergo an audit. After DOL notifies the employer of an audit, the employer must submit required documents within 30 days. If the employer fails to do so, DOL will not only deny the application for labor certification, but may also require future applications from the same employer to go through an additional layer of scrutiny in what is called supervised recruitment.
  • After reviewing the employer’s documents submitted for an audit, DOL may certify the labor certification petition, deny the petition, or ask the employer to go through supervised recruitment.

For a visual guide of this process, click here.

Overall, PERM labor certification is an extremely complicated and time-sensitive procedure. We recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Over the years, Zhang & Associates has successfully handled hundreds of PERM cases. If you would like to contact us, we’re available by phone at (713) 771-8433, or you can visit us at one of our eight U.S. locations. We’re also conveniently available by e-mail at Our attorneys will use their experience, expertise, and teamwork to ensure the highest quality of service for your PERM case.

For more detailed information on PERM labor certification, including minimum requirements and USCIS policies, refer to the following links:

Updated 04/14/2017