PERM Labor Certification


Updated on November 10, 2022

PERM Labor Certification is a formal procedure through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to test the local labor market to confirm there are no willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers to fill a position, after which a U.S. company can sponsor an international worker for lawful permanent residency.

Similar to how H-1B may be considered the “default” professional visa, PERM Labor Certification may be considered the “default” way for a U.S. company to sponsor an employee for permanent residency. Other green card strategies are often considered the exception, such as the EB-2 National Interest Waiver which is a “waiver” of this general/default requirement to engage in a formal test of the local labor market.

The process involves:

  • Application for Prevailing Wage Determination – Gather information and develop the strategy for the entire process, including defining the minimum requirements for the position, confirming the anticipated prevailing wage requirement, and preparing and filing this application. The DOL currently takes about 8 months to confirm the prevailing wage. If the required wage is acceptable to the employer, we would proceed with Step 2.
  • Formal Advertising & Recruitment – Preparation of the advertisements, coordination with an ad agency, legal guidance for the preparation of interview checklists and questions, preparation of a recruitment report, etc. The advertisements would be run publicly for at least thirty (30) days, after which there would be a 30-day quiet period for applications. During this time if a U.S. worker applies for the position who is qualified, we would not be able to file the Permanent Labor Certification and would stop the process at this point. If not, the advertising and recruitment stage takes about 2-3 months, after which we could proceed to Step 3 below.
  • Application for Permanent Labor Certification with the U.S. Department of Labor – The DOL currently takes about 9 months to process the Labor Certification application, unless the DOL decides to conduct an audit which would cause delays of a few months or longer depending upon how well-documented are the records of the above process.

After the successful completion of this PERM Labor Certification process, the U.S. company can file an immigrant petition on behalf of the international hire, on the basis of which the individual can apply for an immigrant visa at a Consulate abroad or permanent residency as an adjustment of status from within the United States with USCIS.

The PERM Labor Certification process is highly complex and generally requires the guidance and supervision of an experienced business immigration attorney.

The above is informational and not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an experienced business immigration attorney on your specific facts and circumstances before proceeding with any U.S. immigration strategy.