PERM Labor Certification First Step for EB2 or EB3 Green Card

When a U.S. employer wishes to hire the services of a foreign worker on a permanent basis, Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is a labor certification system that is generally(although not always) the first step towards a foreigner’s obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa. PERM is the process by which the employer proves that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the position being offered. Before a U.S. employer can file an immigration petition for a foreign worker, the employer must first register with the Dept. of Labor (DOL), which must subsequently certify with the USCIS that there are insufficient U.S. workers qualified and available to accept the job offered to the alien at the prevailing wage, and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S workers.

The PERM process requires the sponsoring petitioning employer to perform a number of recruitment activities as outlined by DOL regulations in order to test the labor market prior to filing the application. If such recruitment efforts fail to detect any other able, qualified and willing U.S. citizens for the job opening, the employer may submit a PERM labor certification application. Such pre-filing recruitment activities include advertising for the position through various media within specific timeframes as well as evaluating job applicants’ qualifications.A simplified special handling procedure may be available for persons in teaching positions at higher education institutes.Please note that the prospective employer, not the employee, must provide payment for all legal fees and recruitment activities.

At time of filing the ETA form 9089, the employer does not need to submit supporting documentation. Once the PERM Labor Certification application is submitted, the DOL begins to process the certification. If the DOL neither finds fault in the employer’s recruitment efforts nor detects that there are other qualified and able U.S workers, it will certify the PERM Labor Certification. However, the DOL may audit any application at any time both randomly or if it suspects fraudulent activity. In such cases, the employer must provide a signed copy of the ETA Form 9089 and copies of all supporting documentation to the DOL to determine the employer’s compliance with pre-filing requirements and recruitment efforts. After the DOL reviews the employer’s documents in an audited case, it may subsequently certify the labor certification petition, deny the petition, or request the employer to undertake an even more thorough and monitored recruitment process. At present it takes 6-8 months for DOL to certify Labor Certification.

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