Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used for obtaining labor certification and is the first step for certain foreign nationals in obtaining a green card. The employment-based preference categories that require PERM labor certification are EB-2 (other than a National Interest Waiver) and EB-3. An application for labor certification is submitted to the DOL by using ETA Form 9089. The DOL must certify to the USCIS both that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job offered the alien at the prevailing wage for that occupation 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.

In brief, the PERM process requires the petitioning employer to conduct a series of recruitment activities to test the labor market before filing the application. If sufficient able, qualified, and willing applicants (U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident) are not found for a position through the recruitment process, the employer can submit a PERM labor certification application. Once it is certified, the employer files I-140 petition which demonstrates an offer of a permanent job. After than, depending on the priority dates of employee’s country of origin, a green card can be obtained.

PERM Process in Detail:

  1. We work with Employer to define the job duties and minimum requirements, finalize job description.
  1. We File an ETA Form 9141 Application for Prevailing Wage Determination (this will take 2 months to get a Certified Prevailing Wage).
  1. Once our firm receives the Certified PW, we can start the PERM recruitment efforts by placing the required advertisements (this process will take about 30 to 60 days):
  • Required-File the 30-day job order with the State Workforce Agency where the employment will take place (ilexlaw will take care of this).
  • Required-The company must post Notice of Filing at the worksite location “Internal Posting” for 10 consecutive business days (our office will draft and send to the company).
  • Required-The company must run 2 print advertisements on two different Sundays newspaper in the metropolitan statistical area where the employment will take place (our office will draft all advertisements, the company will be responsible for executing all advertisements/recruitment)

3. Other Recruitment Steps is required if this is a Professional position that requires at least a Bachelors degree, can choose 3 from list below:

(i) the employer’s website

(ii) job search website

(iii) employee referral program

(iv) job fairs, on-campus recruitment, private employment agencies, etc.

Recruitment efforts/advertisements expire in 180 days, PERM must be filed by the end of 180 period

  1. After all recruitment/advertisement is complete (and taken down) the 30-day Quiet Period begins, this is the time the Company is required to review all submitted resumes and keep records (this process will take at least 31 days).
  1. After the 30-day Quiet Period is over, our office will file the PERM LC “ETA Form 9089” if there is no qualified, willing, able and available U.S. worker (will take about 5-7 months for the DOL to approve, deny or audit the PERM).

If the case is audited, it will push the green card process back, possibly additional 10-12 months. This is the trickiest part of the Labor Certification process. Our experienced immigration attorneys make sure from day one our clients’ cases do not trigger audits and have low chances of getting audited.

  1. If approved, the DOL will issue a certified copy of the PERM application, the Company and the employee must sign and date; this copy will be attached to the I-140 immigrant visa petition filed with the USCIS
  1. Our immigration attorneys will prepare and file the I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition with the USCIS (it will take about 4 months for the USCIS to approve case). This will determine the employee’s preference category EB-2, EB-3.
  1. Employee can Adjust Status/file I-485 Permanent Residency IF “priority date” is current; preference category, priority date, and country of birth will determine if immigrant visa is immediately available for employee

It can be multiple years before the employee’s priority date is current (in case of China and India)

Once I-485 is filed, it typically takes 4 months for USCIS to approve case and issue a green card!