Business Immigration: PERM Labor Certification


Another way for a foreign national to receive lawful permanent resident status and obtain a green card is to have the Department of Labor approve his or her application for Permanent Employment Certification, and then subsequently have the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approve the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) filed on his or her behalf by the employer sponsoring the petition. 

Foreign nationals who aim to get their green cards through employment-based opportunities are very likely to seek a labor certification. Its purpose is to safeguard the domestic labor market and ensure that people of a different nationality do not take away work from Americans who are just as qualified for the job. 

To get a labor certification, a US employer needs to prove two things:

  • That, in the geographic area where the job is available, there are no minimally qualified American workers willing and able to fill the position.
  • That the non-citizen’s employment won’t adversely affect the working conditions and incomes of similarly situated US citizen workers, meaning that the employer must pay the determined prevailing wage for the position when the foreign employee’s permanent residence is granted.

The PERM Process

PERM labor certificationUsing the Program Electronic Review Management System (PERM) process for labor certification is the first step in getting a permanent resident status via this route. The US government designed this to shorten the processing time for labor certifications. Those who meet certain requirements may be allowed to bypass the PERM certification to achieve employment-based permanent residency.

Under Department of Labor guidelines, the employer must place an advertisement for two Sundays for the available job position. Professional positions require additional steps to the recruitment process, including:

  • Placing a 30-day job order with the State Workforce Agency.
  • Getting the prevailing wage determination for the position from the agency.
  • Posting the job listing to advertise internally for 10 days.

Once these steps have been completed to no avail, the employer may then file a PERM application online, attesting that all the required steps to recruit locally have been accomplished. PERM is usually able to certify within 45 to 60 days. The Department of Labor has the authority to scrutinize and verify any seemingly problematic applications prior to certifying them.

If an application seems suspect, the Department of Labor further examines it and only certifies it if the office finds that the requirements have indeed been met. Once the labor certification process is completed, the employer may then apply for the foreign employee’s permanent resident card. Once the immigration petition is approved, applicants who are still in their home country or anywhere outside the US become eligible for permanent residence. Meanwhile, applicants who are already in the US have to apply for adjustment of status to become greencard holders. As a rule, adjustment of status cases that are employment-based are not required to go through interviews at the nearest USCIS office.

Applying for PERM Labor Certification? Contact a Florida Immigration Attorney Today!

If you need legal assistance in US immigration and naturalization matters, call us at Amlaw Group to consult with an experienced Florida immigration lawyer.

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