Breaking Down the Process of Applying for the Department of Labor PERM

Created by the U.S. Department of Labor, PERM Labor Certification is a vital first step in the process of applying for an employment-based green card. Learn more here.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Published on: January 14, 2022, Last updated on: January 24, 2022.

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What Is the Department of Labor PERM Process?

In 2005, the Department of Labor (DOL) created PERM as the first step for anyone that needs to get permanent Labor Certification or employment-based permanent residency in the United States.

The labor department of the United States government set up the PERM program to defend the job market and U.S. workers. The process was intended to ensure that foreign employees in the U.S. do not take jobs that could have gone to qualified American citizens.

As a PERM applicant, you will be required to connect with the DOL and submit an application to demonstrate that an American worker does not have similar skills to what you have in applying for a job in the U.S.

Unlike the First Preference EB-1 visa, the EB-3 and the EB-2 visa will both need you to get the PERM certification before making your application for an immigrant visa.

With the EB-2 visa, you may get a waiver of the PERM Labor Certification if the National Interest Waiver is waived. However, this is only possible if the applicant has evidence that their employment would be beneficial or of national interest to the U.S.

If you are looking for a green card lawyer, you should call the law offices of Tadeo & Silva. We have helped many employers & employees with their application for foreign employee visas and certification.

We may be able to help you with filling out your application forms and anything from legal advice and advocacy to helping you navigate the resources available on the official website of the United States Department of Labor.

Department of Labor PERM Status

The procedure for getting the permanent Labor Certification usually depends on the type of program you are applying for. You can use the official federal government site to search for information on filing. It will also show you how to file for the variety of programs provided by the Department of Labor.

It is usually up to the employer rather than the employee to apply with the Department of Labor. Still, foreign employees can benefit from understanding how the program works.

Overall, the Department of Labor’s interest is ensuring that a foreign employee’s admission in the U.S. will not negatively affect the working conditions, wages, and job opportunities for U.S. workers. 

Once the Department of Labor approves your permanent Labor Certification, the employer will have to seek immigration authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Department of Labor PERM Checker

If the certifying officer or the Department of Labor is not satisfied with the information submitted, the employer may be subject to a targeted audit. 

You may be subjected to such an audit if there are inconsistencies in the filing of documentation, dissatisfactory or incomplete recruitment reports, and suspicion that there are qualified U.S. workers available.

The Department of Labor also conducts random audits, which cannot be avoided or anticipated. This is to ensure that no one can abuse the PERM system. Because random audits are inevitable,  you should always work with an immigration attorney to mitigate the consequences of such an audit. 

If an employer is selected as the target for an audit, processing times will usually go up from a few months to more than a year in some instances. It is also critical to note that employers need to respond to audit inquiries even when PERM applications are withdrawn.

How Long Does the PERM Labor Certification Take?

The PERM Labor Certification process can be pretty arduous and typically involves many processes. These processes can be complicated and taxing, which means the certification process can take very long.

Some of the processes that an employer needs to conduct for a PERM Labor Certification include a series of recruitment efforts intended to determine if the U.S. labor market has qualified candidates for a given job. These efforts have to be documented for the sake of random Department of Labor audits.

Once this is done, the employer will fill out Form ETA 9089, which will then be submitted to the Department of Labor either by mail or electronically.

The DOL then needs to verify that the employer they need to bring in from abroad has skills not found among American workers. You can also fulfill this requirement by showing that a U.S. worker cannot complete the work that needs to be done.

The U.S. employer must prove that the applicant’s employment will not impact American workers in related fields. This usually takes between 120-180 days unless there is an audit by the DOL.

If the U.S. employer’s petition is targeted for auditing, the employer will be required to provide supplementary documentation in more than 30 days following the request. Once the Department of Labor approves the permanent Labor Certification, the employer will need to file with the USCIS before the certification expires.

Note that if the immigrant petition is not completed before the deadline, it will be deemed abandoned.

If you are looking for a U visa attorney, then there is no one better than the Tadeo & Silva law firm. Whether you are dealing with an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor or with other departments such as Homeland Security, we may be able to help you.

We can help you navigate the many websites you need to use in making your application. Having worked with many clients over the years, we are well-equipped to assist you in submitting your documentation.

How to Apply Online for PERM With Department of Labor

A PERM certification makes it possible for somone to bring in a foreign worker to work permanently in the U.S. 

In many cases, one has to apply to the Employment Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor to get the certified Labor Certification. 

It is only when they have been approved for the Permanent Labor Certification by the employment and training administration (ETA), that they can make an application for immigration to the Department of Homeland Security. 

The DOL usually provides evidence to the USCIS that there is a shortage of U.S. workers available, qualified, able, and willing to take the job opportunity offered. This means the hiring of a foreign worker will not negatively affect the working conditions and wages of American workers in similar industries.

PERM Immigration Law

To enhance the working of the permanent Labor Certification program, the ETA in 2004 implemented a repurposed Permanent Labor Certification program that came into effect in 2005. 

Starting in 2005, ETA applications can only be processed using the updated PERM regulations. Applications filed before March 2005 will still be processed under the old regulations until the backlog is cleared.

If you decide to cancel a petition filed under the old regulations and refile anew, you will have to be subjected to the new regulations. The DOL typically processes certifications ETA Form 9089 except for sheepherder and Schedule A applications filed under the old regulations. 

Note that the filing date used by the Department of State and the USCIS, which get it from the DOL, refers to the priority date the Department of Labor received it. Once the DOL certifies the application, it will have to be submitted to a USCIS center.

The employment certification is usually valid for up to 180 days and will expire if it is not submitted to the USCIS within the six-month time period. 

The Tadeo & Silva law firm has been working in immigration for years and hence we have the skills, experience, and training you are looking for in an H1B immigration lawyer. Contact us today and we may help you with your Permanent Labor Certification petition. 

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