The PERM Process
What if the permanent labor certification process?
PERM labor certification means the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) labor certification. The actual process for permanent labor certification varies depending upon the program being used. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized on his/her behalf. In general, the DOL works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.
A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Securitys U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a certified labor certification application from the DOLs Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
DOL processes applications for permanent labor certification filed on ETA Form 9089. The date the labor certification application is received by the DOL is known as the filing date and is used by USCIS and the Department of State as the Priority Date. After the labor certification application is certified by DOL, it should be submitted to the appropriate USCIS Service Center with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The certification has a validity period of 180-days and expires if not submitted to USCIS within this period.
Process for Filing
- Application. The employer must complete an Application for Permanent Employment certification, ETA Form 9089. A completed application will describe in detail the job duties, education requirements, training, experience, and other special skills the employee must possess to perform the work, and outline the foreign workers qualifications.
- Signature requirement. Applications submitted by mail must contain the original signature of the employer, foreign worker, and preparer, if applicable, when they are received by the USDOL. Applications filed electronically must, upon receipt of the labor certification issued by ETA, be signed immediately by the employer, foreign worker, and preparer, if applicable, in order to be valid.
- Prevailing wage. Prior to filing ETA Form 9089, the employer must request and obtain a prevailing wage determination from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC).
- Pre-Filing Recruitment Steps. All employers filing the ETA Form 9089 with certain exceptions and must attest to a number of conditions of employment including having conducted recruitment prior to filing the application. Recruitment muse be according to very specific guidelines defined in the Code of Federal Regulations.
- Audits/requests for information. Supporting documentation may not be filed with the ETA Form 9089, but the employer must provide the required supporting documentation if the employers application is selected for audit or if the Certifying Officer otherwise requests it.
- Retention of records. The employer is required to retain copies of applications for permanent employment certification and all supporting documentation for five years from the date of filing the ETA Form 9089. For example, the NPWC prevailing wage determination documentation is not submitted with the application, but it must be retained for a period of five years from the date of filing the application by the employer.
- Online filing. The DOL strongly recommends that employers file electronically. Not only is electronic filing by its nature, faster, but it will also ensure the employer has provided all required information, as an electronic application cannot be submitted if the required fields are not completed. Additionally, when completing the ETA Form 9089 online, the preparer is provided prompts to assist in ensuring accurate data entry.
The employer can access a customer-friendly Web site (www.plc.doleta.gov http://www.plc.doleta.gov/eta_start.cfm?actiontype=homeCFID=469770CFTOKEN=40097030) and, after registering and establishing an account, electronically fill out and submit an Application for Permanent Employment certification ETA Form 9089.
Registration. To better assist employers with processing the Application for Permanent Employment certification the electronic Online Permanent system requires employers to set up individual accounts. An employer must set up a profile by selecting the appropriate profile option in the Online System. By completing an Employer Profile, the employer is able to:
- Save time by pre-populating its general information.
- View the status of its labor certification applications online.
- Update its profile information online.
- Track newly submitted labor certification applications.
- E-mail saved labor certification applications to others within the company.
- Add new users to its account.
- Withdraw labor certification applications no longer needed.
- Filing by mail. Employers can submit paper applications to the Atlanta NPC. The address and contact information are provided on our Contact Information page. (http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/states_npc.cfm)
- Approvals. If the Atlanta NPC approves the application, the ETA Form 9089 is signed by the Certifying Officer and returned to the employer/employer representative who submitted the application.
As stated earlier, after the labor certification application is certified by DOL, it should be submitted to the appropriate USCIS Service Center with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The certification has a validity period of 180-days and expires if not submitted to USCIS within this period.
Filing an Employment Based Green Card application is a complex process. Please contact the Hassonjee Law Firm for assistance in filing the PERM application, the I-140 petition and the I-485 application.