The PERM prevailing wage is created to make sure U.S. employers provide their employees with the minimum wage in their jobs. This prevailing wage is a major element of the PERM labor certification.
However, the U.S. Department of Labor supervises the PERM program like it supervised recruitment processes. It is just one part of a three-stage process foreign nationals use to obtain an employment-based green card.
The USCIS demands that employers procure it on behalf of their foreign workers looking to stay constantly in the United States. The National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) controls the minimum wage using information gathered across the United States.
This article looks through prevailing wage processing issues and commonly asked questions like requirements, wage determination validity period, and many more.
What is PERM?
The first to consider in this article is PERM is an acronym for Program Electronic Review Management. It is the initial stage involved in filing for a Green Card or employment-based immigrant visa for a foreign national employee.
It is also a labor certification used by the Department of Labor (DOL) to protect U.S. citizens’ jobs and working conditions and to audit reviews for PERM.
The DOL achieves this by making U.S. employers undergo rigorous recruitment processes, which ensures that no qualified U.S. workers are being deprived of jobs in the area.
The prevailing wage determination is another method PERM caters to for U.S. workers. It is the average wage paid to employed workers in the same occupation around the area of intended employment.
The prevailing wage is also the employer’s minimum wage for an employee for the job they intend to perform. This is different from a state or federal minimum wage.
The DOL determines a prevailing wage using information on other employees and employers. This data is gotten from the geographic area of employees that fill the same role with similar qualifications.
For instance, if digital marketing managers in Miami, Florida, are making a certain amount on average, the DOL determines the prevailing wage for that job in that area.
After the prevailing wage is decided, the employer must agree to pay the beneficiary at least this wage and prove that they are financially capable of paying it. Employers prove this using income and bank statements with documented salaries of similar workers.
Employer Requirements for PERM Labor Certification?
There are strict requirements for U.S. employers for PERM labor certification, and some of them include;
- U.S. employers must not tailor the job requirements to the foreign worker’s skill set.
- The wage must be higher or proportionate to the prevailing wage requirements.
- There must be proof that no qualified domestic workers for such a position and that the foreign worker will not limit the wages or conditions for U.S. workers.
The PERM Process
The initial stage for green card acquisition involves the following processes:
- The employer files a “prevailing wage request” to the Department of Labor (DOL) through its website.
- Then the DOL receives the request and uses it to evaluate and issue the employer with a prevailing wage determination (PWD).
- This PWD determines the employee’s wage in the position based on factors like worksite location and experience level needed for the job.
- The DOL then gathers data to ensure that no willing and qualified U.S. domestic worker applied for the job.
The employer also has to do compulsory postings such as:
- An advertisement at the state workforce agency for a month
- Job notice at the workplace for ten continuous days
- The ETA Form – 9089. This was done after the 30-day mandatory period had elapsed and no qualified U.S. domestic worker was found for the job. The form is filed online through the DOL’s website.
PERM Updates From DOL That Everyone Should Be Aware Of
The DOL is responsible for updating prevailing wage determination (PWD) and permanent labor certification (PERM) processing times.
On September 30, 2021, the DOL made official decisions regarding applications filed on or before May 2021. It conducted PERM applications filed in or before November 2020 and reviewed appeals concerning reconsideration on or before May 2021. The update issued by DOL was that the average PERM processing times were 153 days for adjudication and 322 days for audit review.
For PWD updates, the DOL processed PWD requests filed around or before March 2021. They also processed PWD redetermination requests filed in August 2021. The average processing times for PWD requests were 158 days and 224 days, respectively.
The Average PERM Processing Times in 2022
Processing times have gradually increased at the DOL. This happens not only for PERM applications but also for the audit reviews and Prevailing Wage Requests.
The average time stated by DOL for a PERM application to be processed about 207 days, which is almost seven months, if no additional information is required. This is quite a long time, even for U.S. DOL standards. In the past, PERM processing times were between 3 to 5 months, but now they are at seven months.
The DOL is currently processing PERM cases filed in July 2020. Hopefully, in time, the processing periods will decrease.
For PERM Audits, the U.S. Department of Labor uses an average processing time of about 11 months from when an audit is received on a PERM application. You must note that there are instances where the DOL audits PERM cases. Hence, audits cannot be fully avoided and are always carried out.
Unfortunately, premium processing is only available for employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant H-1B visa petitions. Hence, you can’t use it to speed up the PERM process. According to the DOL, the prevailing wages take 157 days. This is just about 5.2 months of average processing time, which is still a long period.
Lastly, redetermination requests for prevailing wages and average PERM processing times take about two months, while reconsideration requests for PERM applications take five months to process.
The time that wage determination takes for fully vaccinated travelers, those who want to work specialty jobs in the US, and those processing H-1B visa has been one of the issues discussed by the DOL and several bodies in the United States.
Many experts who have written an article to this regard have suggested that many of the additional information required are not necessary to reflect updates to perm, and have caused the delay, especially with non-OES cases.
PERM Prevailing Wage Determination Validity and Frequently Asked Questions
The wage determination is valid between 90 days to a year. However, as soon as the employer gets the prevailing wage designated by the National Prevailing Wage Center, they must submit the recruitment file and PERM Labor Certification within the validity period.
With that being said, here are some PERM-related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
Is there a fee for the PERM?
There is no fee for the PERM; however, the employer may encounter costs when creating job advertisements during the recruitment process or while providing any additional information that may be required.
What happens when the employer finds qualified applicants in the U.S.?
If the employer can find willing and able U.S. workers during recruitment and they accept the position, then the PERM application ends. However, the employer can restart the PERM process if they choose.
What documents are needed for PERM labor certification?
You’ll need proof that U.S. workers are incapable or ineligible of performing this employment. This is obtained through the local Labor Market Analysis documents. It includes newspaper ads, job orders, prints of website job ads, U.S. Employer Audit File, immigrant petition, and completed Form ETA 9089.
Green Card and Permanent Labor Certification Through PERM Roadmap
Here are the steps to getting a green card through the PREM process:
- Step 1: Design your job duties and know its minimum requirements
- Step 2: Seek prevailing wage determination (PWD) from DOL
- Step 3: Conduct recruitment
- Step 4: Submit PERM to DOL
- Step 5: File I-140
- Step 6: Exercise patience for the priority date to become current
- Step 7: File I-485
- Step 8: Attend a biometrics appointment
- Step 9: Prepare for and attend the interview with a USCIS officer
The green card is often approved from 2 weeks to 2 months after the interview.
What Is the Current PERM Processing Time In 2022?
The processing time for the PERM varies based on the underlying steps that need to be approved.
The DOL takes 160 days to determine and approve the prevailing wage. The applications submitted in August 2021 are still being reviewed. The DOL’s expert analysts review cases after the prevailing wage is determined. This process can reach up to 120 days.
This step often begins after the PWD and can take anywhere between 30 to 60 days for recruitment efforts to reflect updates to PERM.
After filing Form 9089, DOL will take months to adjudicate the PERM. This can take the total processing time to nearly seven months for the reconsideration filed to be examined.
There are only three possible outcomes: PERM approval or denial and a PERM audit. When the DOL requests an audit, the employer must provide additional evidence, which may increase the processing time.
To check the DOL’s PERM Processing time, you can go to the website to access DOL data that reflect updates and any priority date. If you or your attorney has filed Form 9089 online, you can check the case status using the DOL’s Permanent Case Management System.
Any New Updates From DOL For PERM and PWD Processing Times?
On March 31, 2022, based on an official source contained in the article, the DOL went through PERM applications filed in or before September 2021. It also carried out audit reviews for PERM applications filed in or before July 2021. Updated average PERM and PWD processing times are about 182 days for adjudication and 283 days for audit review.
The DOL has also updated prevailing wage determination (PWD) and permanent labor certification (PERM) processing times. Keeping up with these updates is essential when adjudicating PERM applications filed or reviewing appeals for PERM status.
PERM and Prevailing Wage Processing Updates When Conducting Audit Reviews
The DOL has released its monthly processing time updates for permanent labor certification (PERM) applications. The changes include marginally longer PERM and PWD processing times in March 2022 compared to the previous months. Also, at the end of the month, average PERM processing times were 182 days for adjudication and 283 days for audit review.
These PERM and PWD processing times play a major role when conducting audit reviews. It is also important when adjudicating PERM applications filed for prevailing wage determinations.
How Can Richard Herman Help You?
When it comes to immigration matters, seeking expert legal services from reputable immigration law firms helps you to save time and money. One of the most outstanding immigration law firms is Herman Legal Group with qualified professional attorneys who are skilled in adjudicating applications filed form wage processing. Reading an article by Delaware corporation, European Union, or those from center director reviews that is updated monthly is not enough; you need to get an attorney to help you.
If you want to schedule a consultation with Herman Legal Group, you can reach us via +1-800-808-4013 or +1-216-696-6170. If you want Richard Herman to take up your DOL cases or that of your company himself, you can schedule a consultation with him by booking online.
Several key points that are updated monthly continue to affect the prevailing wage filing process for workers and their employers. Currently, DOL processes prevailing wage determination in 6-7 months or even nine months for union positions, company, and workers that work specialty occupations. However, the first step to getting most of the key points discussed in this article right is to request the services of an immigration attorney.