PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management and is the current method of Labor Certification required for many of the categories of obtaining a green card through employment. It is an internet based process that is used by the United States Department of Labor to certify that there are no qualified U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
The process is detailed, complex and consists of three steps leading to permanent residence. The first step involves obtaining an approved application for labor certification from the DOL. Here, the employer must conduct specified recruitment activities and advertising the position in the newspaper and other media. No documentation need be submitted with the application. However, the employer must maintain copies of the ads, resumes, and other documents showing that the recruitment actually occurred as reported. The DOL will audit selected cases. Applicants must then produce all supporting documents in thirty days. If the documents cannot be immediately produced, the application will be denied.
Once the labor certification is approved by DOL, the employer will need to file an immigrant visa petition on their employee’s behalf. At this stage, the employer will need to demonstrate the company’s ability to pay the prevailing wage, which may require submission of company’s financial statement or tax returns.
Upon approval of the petition, the employee will be eligible to apply for permanent residence at a U.S. consulate abroad or at a local CIS office once the visa number is “current” in his appropriate employment-based preference category. In this final phase, emphasis will be based on the employee’s overall qualifications to immigrate to the U.S., such as, whether the employee has a criminal record, or whether the employee has a contagious disease, etc.
Currently, a quota system exists, which is determined by the number of immigrant visas the State Department allocated under various employment-based “preference” categories. The employee’s place in line in the quota system is “reserved” as of the date the DOL accepts the initial LC application. This is called the “priority date” which can be tracked each month from the State Department Visa Bulletin published releases. The quota varies depending upon the preference category and country of the employee’s citizenship.
During this entire process, the sponsored employee and his/her family, residing in the U.S., should maintain their valid nonimmigrant (temporary) status. However, the applicant (as well as his/her dependents) are eligible to apply for work authorization upon filing for adjustment of status in the U.S.
Fuessel Law provides comprehensive PERM assistance for employers of all sizes and prepare all necessary applications, petitions and reports, advise employers on needed documentation of recruitment efforts and required documents in support of petitions For a consultation regarding the preparation and filing of a PERM application, please contact us.