PERM Labor Certification
PERM Labor Certification, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, is normally the first step for a foreign individual to obtain permanent resident status – a green card – through an employment-based immigrant visa petition. A U.S. employer applies on behalf of the foreign worker and must show that this job offer will not displace an available U.S. worker and will not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Labor certification applications are a pre-requisite for most employment-based petitions, with the exception of the EB-1 category and EB-2 National Interest Waiver petitions. In addition, certain shortage occupations – nurses and physical therapists – have been deemed “pre-certified” and do not require labor certification.
Under PERM, U.S. employers must conduct pre- recruitment for the position. The PERM process includes the following steps:
- Obtain prevailing wage determination from Department of Labor.
- Place a job order with the local state employment agency.
- Post a notice of job opening on the work premises where employees will see it for 10 business days and document responses to the notice.
- Place advertisements for position.
- Interview all applicants who respond to advertisements.
- Prepare a report of recruitment efforts for Department of Labor.
- Submit PERM application online.
Special Handling of Labor Certification Applications for College and University Teachers
Labor Certification Applications filed by colleges or universities for teachers are done under “special handling” procedures. The employer must demonstrate that it has conducted a competitive recruitment selection process (involving at least one advertisement in a national professional journal) within 18 months of filing the application, and that the foreign individual was more qualified than any of the U.S. workers who applied for the job. Special handling has the advantage of allowing college or university employers to hire the most qualified individual rather than a minimally qualified U.S. worker, as in the normal type of labor certification processing.