If an employer is seeking to hire a foreign national to work at their company and would like to assist that person in acquiring a green card to stay permanently in the US for work, one of the most common options is the use of PERM Labor Certification. PERM, which stands for Program Electronic Review Management, is an immigration avenue that relies heavily on the employer, who must complete a number of steps before the application can be reviewed, and hopefully approved.
Th PERM Labor Certification
PERM Labor Certification is a very particular and deadline-sensitive project, so it is best to work with a skilled immigration attorney who can ensure that steps are completed sufficiently and on time.
How Does An Employer Qualify?
In order to qualify to hire a foreign national using the PERM process, the employer must prove to the United States Department of Labor that the foreign worker will not displace American workers for the position. In other words, the company must attempt to hire American workers first, and if an American worker qualifies for the position, the PERM process will not be successful.
Advertisement Placement In Specific Locations
First, an employer must advertise the job so that American workers have the chance to apply. These advertisements must be posted in very specific locations: a job order via the state’s workforce agency and two ads in a Sunday newspaper that circulates in the area where the work is going to be taking place. Three additional ads must also be posted, but the employer has a variety of choices regarding where and how to display them.
Thorough Review Of Each Resume Submitted
Concurrently with the advertisement process, the employer will likely begin to receive resumes from both the foreign national of interest and any American resident workers who believe they may qualify. The employer must thoroughly review each resume and keep detailed notes about the reasons that each applicant is rejected. If an applicant cannot be turned down based on the resume alone, they must be invited to interview, and the employer must also keep detailed records of the interviews and reasons for rejection.
Consideration For Remaining Applicants
Once the advertisements have lapsed (typically after 30 days or more to fulfill the PERM requirement for posting time), the company must consider any remaining applicants for the position. If the foreign national is the only one remaining who qualifies, the PERM Labor Certification process can continue, and the employer can then file an application on behalf of the potential employee.
The Application & Filing Process
Once the recruitment phase has ended, the employer must fill out an ETA Form 9089 for electronic submission to the Department of Labor. This form will gather information about the recruitment process (which is why it is critical to work with a lawyer who can guide you through the detailed timing and advertising requirements), such as how long ads were placed, where they were located and whether the reasons for turning down candidates other than the foreign national were well-founded.
Following the submission of the ETA Form 9089, if the application is approved, then an employer can move to file an I-140 with USCIS. This part of the application can be premium processed for an additional cost, in which case the petition will be reviewed within 15 days. If the I-140 is approved, the employee is eligible to receive a green card and the process is complete.
What Companies Must Provide For Foreign Workers
In order for the Department of Labor to approve a PERM, the company must be willing to provide working conditions for the foreign national that is equivalent to the working conditions of American resident workers.
Additionally, the employer must pay the prevailing wage of the position; the government maintains a categorization scheme that tracks the average wage paid to similarly employed individuals, and the company must agree to pay the foreign national a minimum of this amount (based upon the field of work and experience).
Employment Specialties Under PERM Labor Certification
PERM Labor Certification covers both EB-2 and EB-3 workers; this means that some specialties exist within the PERM class. EB-2 workers hold advanced degrees and possess specialized knowledge in fields such as technology, medicine, engineering, and other fields.
EB-3 workers are categorized as skilled or professional workers and hold at least a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of five years of experience.
Consult With An Experienced Immigration Law Firm
Navigating the complex waters of PERM Labor Certification is one of the most notoriously difficult areas of immigration law, which is why it is critical for an employer who is beginning the PERM process to work with a skilled immigration attorney. From recruitment timing to properly filling out forms, PERM Labor Certification has very stringent rules.
The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge are eager to assist you to start working through this process to give you the best chance at a positive outcome. Give us a call at 703.273.5500 or request a consultation online.