PERM labor certification is the first and mandatory process if an employer wishes to hire a foreign national employee in the U.S. on a permanent basis. It is required for foreign nationals who want permanent residence in the U.S. and a green card.
The processing times of the PERM labor certification depend on the various factors, and if all the requirements are met, it can take up to 6-months from the time the employer files PERM.
What steps are involved in the PERM application process?
There are various steps or processes involved in the PERM process. The steps involved in the PERM process include prevailing wage determination PWD, comprehensive testing of the labor market, and some others. The step-wise guide of the PERM LC process is given below:
A writeup of the Job description and Job requirements
The employer will develop the job description and the requirements in this step. The employer will also make decisions about the recruitment process and look for any issues. This process seems very easy, but it may be very complex in reality. This process can take 30-days to 60-days.
Obtaining Prevailing wage determination from DOL
The employer has to request a prevailing wage request PWD from the Department of Labor DOL. In late 2021, the PWDs processing time was up to six months. The PWD can take much longer if the employer disagrees with the existing PWD and files a fresh or new request with minor adjustments in the job requirements.
The Department of Labor, in 2019, launched a website for PWD requests under the name FLAG. There were some bugs or glitches in the website. According to the DOL, they are aware of it, and they are continuously working on improving the website and removing the glitches.
It is recommended that the employers resolve the PWD issues before beginning recruitment, although it is not a requirement. Suppose it is required that the LC has to be filed urgently. In that case, the employers can initiate the recruitment process before the completion of determination from the Department of Labor.
If the employer wants to initiate the recruitment process before getting a PWD, he cannot file LC before receiving PWD. The employer must file the LC before the expiry of PWD.
Conducting recruitment of potential job candidates
Once the employer begins the recruitment process, the employer has 60-180 days to file the LC. Before filing the LC, it is required that the employer must allow a cooling-off period of 30-days. There will be no recruitment and no job notices during the cooling-off period.
If the sponsoring employer wishes that the LC must be filed within 60-days, he has to post all job notices, and all recruitment steps must be completed in 30 days. If, by chance, the employer gets many responses, and it is needed to screen more applicants to determine that there are no qualified candidates available, then the process can take much longer. The filing may be delayed or even restarts if the employer finds qualified workers.
Steps involved in PERM Recruitment:
According to the PERM regulations, the recruitment steps must be completed within six months for professionals and non-professionals after the application is filled.
#Professional vs. Non-Professional
The professional position requires a bachelor’s or higher degree. You can also qualify for the position if you have a foreign equivalent degree. You can consult with your immigration attorney whether your degree is eligible for the professional category or not.
It would be very beneficial if your employer kept a record of all the payment receipts. The payment receipts and the online correspondence can be good evidence to prove that your employer has put a lot of effort into the recruitment process. It is a simple yet beneficial step and can save a lot of cost and time for the audit.
In the non-professional category of occupations, the foreign national does not have to possess a bachelor’s degree. To satisfy the non-professional occupations recruitment process, the employer has to comply with only two processes.
- A job order or position should be placed by the employer with the State Workforce Agency. The period for the job order placing should be 30 days.
- The employer has to place the job ad in two consecutive Sunday magazine editions with a wide circulation in the area where the job position is available.
These steps should be conducted or concluded in 30-days, but the time duration should not be more than 6-months prior to filing the application. It is mandatory that the employer has to wait for a duration of 30-days prior to the filing of ETA-9089, and it is for both professional and non-professional occupations. This process ensures that there is plenty of time to make sure that the qualified U.S. workers have enough time to respond to the job offer.
Filing of Labor certification
Once the recruitment is completed and the employer has waited for the cooling-off period, he can file the LC. Some employers can file the LC in a few months, and it mostly takes around six months to get to this point.
Documentation required for the PERM Labor Certification:
Local Labor Market Analysis (evidence that there are no U.S. workers available or are ineligible/incapable for the job position.)
An approved Documented Evidence is required for the following:
The Prevailing Wage Request is mandatory; the Department of Labor utilizes the job requirements and the location of the position for the determination of the prevailing wage.
Documentary evidence of the job orders is also required.
The employer must give newspaper ads of the job position.
Prints of the ads posted for the job position on the website are also required.
Audit file of the U.S. Employer is also mandatory for the documentation of PERM labor certification.
An immigrant petition should be filed, and documentary evidence of the petition should be included in the documentation.
The form ETA-9089 completion documentary evidence should be included in the documentation.
The employer has the option of filing the application electronically or by mail. Interestingly DOL recommends that employers should apply electronically. Electronic filing is fast and convenient. It can also save the employer from providing incomplete requirements because the electronic application can not be submitted incomplete. Besides online filing, the sponsoring employer can check perm status online.
Report on Applicants rejection
The employer has to formulate a report on the recruitment that led the employer to reject all of the U.S. applicants.
The employer’s reasons in the report must be lawful and should not be discriminatory.
If the information provided is not satisfactory for the DOL or Certifying Officer, then the employer may have the risk of a targeted audit. The audit can result from the suspicion that U.S. qualified workers are available. It can also be a result of inconsistencies in the documentation or a not satisfying report of recruitment.
The random audits run by DOL can not be predicted, or these audits are also unavoidable. The audits run by DOL help to ensure that the PERM process is not misused.
The PERM audits can dramatically increase the processing times, and the processing time can be increased from six months to one or a half years. The employer has to respond to the audit notice once it is served, and responding is a must even if the application of PERM is withdrawn.
Cost of PERM LC
DOL has no fee for filing the PERM petition, but the LC does not include only the filing fee of the PERM petition. The costs come with the recruitment process that includes ad posting and conducting interviews. The PERM application process is the concern of the employer.
The USCIS has a fee for the green card processing, and the filing fee of Form I-140 is $580. You or your employer can pay the green card processing fee or the I-140.
Decision on Labor Certification
The department of labor processes the labor certifications in the order as they receive them. The processing of labor certification involves auditing, approving, or denying. The processing times of the DOL are available on the FLAG website.
The initial review of the labor certifications is performed by the department of labor between three to six months. The process is not consistent as sometimes LC may be reviewed initially by the DOL within one week, or sometimes it takes three months.
How to speed up the Processing time of PERM?
There is only one way that you can speed up your PERM application, and that is the correct filing of the petition, so you don’t get notice of audit. In the entire PERM process, premium processing is only allowed for Form I-140. Besides I-140, the employer or the foreign national employee must wait for every step’s processing time.
Who does not require a Labor Certification?
In these immigrant petitions, LC is not required:
- The immigration petitions of family-based applications do not require LC.
- The immigration petitions under the category of executives and CITM (Company Intra Transfer Manager)
- The petitions under NIW (National Interest Waiver)
- The petitions of the investors apply under the category of EB-5.
The process of the PERM LC can be complicated and time-consuming. To save your time and get things done smoothly, you can take immigration services from a law firm. After consulting with the immigration attorney, both the employer and the foreign national employee will know the process so both parties can play their role.
How Herman Legal Group can help you with the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) Application?
You need guidance from an experienced or seasoned attorney because it can save you precious time and money.
Herman Legal Group has a history of providing expert guidance and consultation to its clients. Our experienced attorney, Richard, can help you get green card status in the U.S. Let us handle your case by utilizing our skills and providing immigration services.
Contacting Herman Legal Group is easy, and you can contact us on the following numbers, 1-800-808-4013, 1-216-696-6170. Online booking of consultation is also available, and the consultation is given on Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom, Facetime. In-office consultation is also available.