PERM – Labor Certification


Miami immigration attorney Oleg Otten will help you navigate through PERM or Labor Certification process to obtain a green card through employment

What is PERM?

PERM is Labor Certification, which is a necessary step to get an employment-based green card in EB-2 and EB-3 categories. PERM is an abbreviation of Permanent Electronic Records Management.

When does PERM apply?

EB-2 for Advanced Degree professionals: the job must require Master’s degree or equivalent, meaning it could be a Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of post-baccalaureate experience.

EB-3 for Professionals: the job must require a US Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.

EB-3 for Skilled Workers: usually used for people outside of the US. Job must require at least two years of secondary education or skilled work. For other workers, job may require less than two years of education or experience. May be used for cooks, beauticians, landscape workers, and nannies.

PERM is a lengthy and complicated process. Success in PERM is best achieved when the employer’s Human Resources department works as a team with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Labor Certification steps:

Step 1: PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor

Step 2: I-140 is filed with the USCIS

Step 3: Adjustment of status or consular processing

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Why do we need PERM?

Labor Certification is used to establish that there are no able, qualified, available, and willing US workers to take the job offered to the foreign candidate. The job means a specific job, for a specific employer, in a specific location, for a market-level compensation determined by the Department of Labor. If the job is to teach at a higher education organization, the foreign applicant has to be the best qualified applicant, and not the only one in the pool of applicants, as in the regular PERM.

Testing the labor market

PERM is the employer’s process of testing the market, while the employee should stay out of it. By law, the employer must pay for the process. Employer must show ability to pay the required wage. While employer would only have to pay the required wage when the petition is approved, the employer must prove its ability to pay when the petition is filed. It’s important to keep in mind that PERM has little to do with the normal HR process of searching for and hiring employees. The job description may not be tailored for a specific employee’s resume, but the employee, of course, should qualify for the position at the time he or she was hired. Requirements should be objective and measurable. Do not include subjective requirements such as “good team player,” “enthusiastic,” or “hardworking.”

What types of PERM are there?

  1. Schedule A: registered nurses, physical therapists, and persons of exceptional ability. Department of Labor determined that these occupations are in short supply in the US, so the full PERM process is not required. Under Schedule A, the employer has to get the prevailing wage, notice of filing, file additional forms with the USCIS, but does not have to go through the formal recruitment process as required under regular PERM.
  2. Special Handling: for people who teach in higher education (vocational schools are not included).
  3. Regular: requires normal recruitment process to prove there are no US workers who could do this job.

What steps should we take before filing regular PERM?

  1. Determine the minimum requirements for the job taking into account both the needs of the company and the requirements for a particular position provided by the Department of Labor (DOL); draft detailed job description; and document each qualification listed for the job.
  2. Prepare ETA 9141 and submit it through the iCert Portal to the DOL.
  3. When DOL issues a prevailing wage, and if the employer agrees to pay such wage, you can move on to a recruitment campaign.
  4. After the recruitment stage is concluded, we begin the 30-day quiet period.

Miami immigration lawyer Oleg Otten