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Obtaining employment based permanent resident status is a three-step process. The first step towards getting a green card is the PERM labor certification. The PERM process contains many necessary criteria that must be met for approval. This process is involved and requires meticulous planning and organization. This article will concentrate on the steps involved in completing the PERM labor certification.

The PERM labor certification is filed on Form ETA 9089. Once filed, typical processing for a PERM application is approximately six (6) months. Employers are charged with completing several steps before the application can be filed with the Department of Labor (DOL), which will be the next focus.

Duties Offered for Position and Minimum Requirements

Starting a PERM case begins with establishing the duties are requirements of the position. Every position has government regulations which contain:

  1. Job description
  2. Job requirements or qualifications

Drawing from these regulations, it is the responsibility of the employer to define the required experience and education needed for the sought after position. These requirements fall under DOL’s “actual minimum requirements” more specifically, 20 CFR 656.17(i)(5)(ii). This regulation requires the employer to state the minimum education and experience requirements needed to perform the job in a satisfactory or “competent” manner.

Because the employer’s minimum requirements have now been established, a sponsored employee must show how he/she meets them. This is typically done through providing educational documents, letters from previous employers and foreign educational credentials.

Obtaining Prevailing Wage Determination

The second necessary action in filing a PERM application is acquiring a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from DOL. The minimum wage level is determined by referencing the position’s description (step 1) and can take approximately 6 weeks. It is possible to process PWD before recruitment however; it is advisable to acquire PWD before recruitment.

Obtaining Prevailing Wage Determination Before Recruitment

A good reason for acquiring PWD before recruitment is the number of problems that can arise during PWD processing. For example, although a specific PWD is submitted originally it is possible that a different, even higher PWD is rendered by DOL. This could cause an entire case re-start from step 1.

Another common pitfall in the PWD stage of the PERM process is timing. Recruitment is only valid for a specific amount of time and the Perm Labor Certification MUST be filed during the validity of the PWD. Therefore, recruitment must be completed before the expiration date of the PWD. If recruitment is not completed before the expiration date, then the process has to start all over again (step 1).

How to do Recruitment for a PERM Labor Certification

Recruitment, like all other steps in the PERM process has strict guidelines to adhere to. Recruitment must be done using the following:

  1. Two newspaper ads – (with major circulation)
  2. Posting in State Labor Department’s Job Bank
  3. Three additional forms of recruitment – (for professional positions)

These advertisements should be done with care as there are regulations outlining both the types of advertisements to use and the content of the advertisements.

Similar to the previous steps of the PERM process, “timing” plays an important role in recruitment. Each of the advertisements has a specific period of time they must run for. If an advertisement is cut short (even without employer authorization); DOL could potentially deny the application. Keeping a timeline of all the advertisements and properly documenting them is a difficult task and should be entrusted to an experienced professional.

Responding to Recruitment Resumes

DOL requires that an employer promptly respond to any resumes gathered from recruitment. This attention is to ensure that DOL considers the recruitment process valid. There are numerous ways to respond including rejecting resumes and conducting interviews however, almost always choosing the correct response to a resume is a difficult decision. This article unfortunately cannot cover all of the potential hazards handling resumes can cause. It is truly recommended that an attorney be consulted for this due to how individualized each case is.

30 Day “Quiet Period”

Some refer to the period between finishing the majority of recruitment and the actual filing of the application a “quiet” or “hold” period due to the level of inactivity. After the 30-day job order and most of the recruitment is done, an individual must still wait an additional 30-days before filing. This window of time is actually implemented so that an employer can continue to receive possible resumes. In most cases, filing a PERM labor certification BEFORE the 30 day period will result in denial.

When to File FORM 9089

Assembling ETA 9089 is an involved procedure and ideally should be entrusted to an attorney. However requires the involvement of both the employer and employee who must sign under penalty of perjury. It is also essential that ETA 9089 is not finalized until AFTER recruitment.

Termination of a PERM Application

As understood by most applying for PERM, emergence of a willing, qualified and able US candidate will cause the PERM application to be terminated. This does not bar an employer from starting a new PERM application at a later date

Always Work With A Professional

The Perm Labor Certification process is both complicated and time consuming. Unfortunately, there are far more ways to make an error during this process than this article could cover. It is in the benefit of any employer or sponsored employee to consult with an experienced immigration attorney when pursuing PERM in hopes of avoiding errors due to timing, responding to resumes, interpretation of state and federal codes and compiling form ETA 9089.

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We offer our prospective clients free initial consultations either at our office or via phone so that you can understand all of your options. Call KPPB Law or contact us online to set up a free consultation and discuss your case.