What is PERM?
PERM stands for “Program Electronic Review Management.” It is a process used in the United States for obtaining labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as part of the employment-based immigration process, specifically for certain employment-based visas, such as the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.
Labor certification is a prerequisite for many employment-based immigrant visa categories, as it demonstrates that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for a specific job position, and therefore, the employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker to fill that position. The purpose of the PERM process is to ensure that hiring foreign workers does not negatively impact the job market for U.S. workers.
Here’s how the PERM process generally works:
- Job Posting and Recruitment: Before an employer can apply for labor certification through PERM, they must first actively recruit for the position within the U.S. labor market. This typically involves advertising the job opening through various mediums to give U.S. workers an opportunity to apply.
- Prevailing Wage Determination: The employer needs to obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. This determines the minimum wage that must be offered to the foreign worker for the specific job in the geographic area where the job is located.
- Recruitment and Advertising: The employer must conduct a specific recruitment process, which usually includes advertising the job opening in various places, such as in newspapers, on job boards, and through other means. The goal is to actively seek U.S. workers for the position.
- Filing the PERM Application: After completing the required recruitment steps and obtaining the prevailing wage determination, the employer files the PERM application with the U.S. Department of Labor. The application includes detailed information about the job position, the recruitment efforts, and the qualifications of the foreign worker.
- DOL Review: The DOL reviews the PERM application to ensure that the employer has followed the appropriate recruitment process and that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job. If everything is in order, the DOL may certify the labor certification, indicating that the employer can proceed with the immigration process for the foreign worker.
- Immigrant Visa Application: With the certified labor certification in hand, the employer can then proceed to file an immigrant visa petition (such as Form I-140) on behalf of the foreign worker with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is the next step in the process towards obtaining permanent residency.
It’s important to note that the PERM process is typically associated with the EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based visa categories, which are for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers. The EB-1C visa, mentioned in the previous conversation, does not require a PERM process because it falls under the EB-1 category, which does not require labor certification.
How to complete the Labor Certification process?
Completing the Labor Certification process, also known as the PERM process, involves several steps to obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for the employment of a foreign worker in the United States. This process is typically required for certain employment-based immigrant visas, such as the EB-2 and EB-3 categories. Here’s a general outline of how to complete the Labor Certification process:
Determine Eligibility and Job Requirements:
- Determine the specific job position for which you intend to hire a foreign worker.
- Define the job requirements, including education, experience, skills, and any other qualifications needed for the position.
Obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination:
- Submit a Prevailing Wage Request to the DOL, providing information about the job position and location.
- The DOL will respond with a prevailing wage determination, indicating the minimum wage that must be offered to the foreign worker.
Recruitment and Advertising:
- Advertise the job opening in accordance with the DOL’s regulations. This typically includes a combination of print and online advertisements, as well as other recruitment efforts.
- Maintain detailed records of all recruitment efforts, including dates, locations, and responses received.
File the PERM Application:
- Prepare and file the PERM application (Form ETA 9089) with the DOL electronically. This application includes detailed information about the job position, recruitment efforts, and the foreign worker’s qualifications.
- Ensure all information provided is accurate and complete.
Wait for DOL Review:
- The DOL will review the PERM application to ensure that the employer has followed the required recruitment process and that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.
- This review process can take several months, and the DOL may request additional documentation or clarification if needed.
Certification or Denial:
- If the DOL is satisfied with the application and determines that the employer has met all the requirements, they will issue a certified labor certification.
- In some cases, the DOL might issue an audit notification, which requires the employer to provide additional documentation to verify the accuracy of the application.
Immigrant Visa Petition (Form I-140):
- With the certified labor certification, the employer can file an immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign worker.
- The Form I-140 petition demonstrates that the foreign worker meets the eligibility criteria for the specific employment-based visa category.
Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing:
- Once the Form I-140 is approved, the foreign worker can proceed with the final steps of the immigration process, either by adjusting their status to permanent residency (if already in the U.S.) or through consular processing (if outside the U.S.).
It’s important to note that the Labor Certification process involves strict adherence to regulations, detailed record-keeping, and thorough documentation. Many employers seek the guidance of immigration attorneys or experts to ensure that they navigate the process correctly and increase the chances of a successful outcome. The specific requirements and procedures can vary, so it’s recommended to refer to the official resources provided by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the most up-to-date information.