The topic of PERM labor certification bridges employment law and immigration law. Labor certification is the major way to get a "green card," or a permanent resident visa, through employment. Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the new and speedier way of filing an application with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

With employment-based visas such as the H1B, the foreign employee applies from his or her country. However, with labor certification, the employer applies to the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) in the United States. PERM provides green cards to foreign employees who fill a gap in the U.S. labor market, doing jobs that U.S. citizens find undesirable. 

What Inefficiencies Existed Before PERM Process?

The PERM system replaces the pre-2005 "reduction in recruitment" and "standard" procedures for processing labor certification applications. Applications could take years to go through these old processes, because they were first filed with the state departments of labor (e.g., California Labor and Workforce Development Agency), which scrutinized the applications and worked closely with employers in creating job descriptions and advertisements, before forwarding the applications to the U.S Department of Labor (DOL). 

Under the PERM system, applications are now filed directly with the U.S Department of Labor (DOL), which summarily approves it following confirmation that the employer exists, unless certain red flags result in an audit. The PERM system has a goal of approving applications within 45 to 60 days. 

Employers Responsibilities: What are Some PERM Process Requirements?

The PERM process begins with an advertisement in the local area. Employers must make certain that there are no qualified U.S. workers available who want the job. This is important so that U.S. workers will not be displaced and wages in that employment field adversely affected. 

The job offered must be full-time. The job cannot be tailored with the applicant in mind, such that only that applicant, with her particular experience and background, would be able to qualify. The wage offered must be exactly the same as the prevailing wage in that area – state departments of labor are still utilized to determine this prevailing wage.

When to Seek an Attorney’s Advice?

Advice from a qualified employment attorney will help to clarify the complex process involved in PERM labor certification. If you are an employer, an immigration attorney can assist in the process of petitioning visas for employees with approved labor certifications.