PERM labor certification, administered by the Department of Labor (DOL), is an essential step an employer must take before sponsoring a foreign employee to gain permanent residence in the United States.

Its purpose is to ensure that the entry of foreign employees into the US labor market will not have a negative impact on the job prospects, earnings, and working conditions of domestic workers.

american labor day backgroundIn other words, to obtain PERM certification, an employer must demonstrate that no qualified and willing American workers are available to fill the position offered to a foreign national.

PERM certification also guarantees that the offered wage meets or exceeds the prevailing wage level for that job role in the geographic region where the worker will be employed.

Once PERM certification is granted, the employer can sponsor the foreign worker for permanent residency. Most employment-based green cards require an approved PERM certification, making this program foundational for securing high-skilled talent.

How PERM Fits Into the Bigger Picture for Employment-Based Green Cards

An employment-based green card permits a foreigner to reside and work in the United States permanently. Most of the approximately 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually are in categories that require PERM labor certification.

Specifically, PERM certification is mandatory for the following two common green card categories:

  • EB-2: This category of visa is for professional workers who have high-level degrees or individuals with outstanding ability in science, arts, or business. A PERM certification must confirm that no qualified US worker can take the offered position.
  • EB-3: This visa class is open to professionals, skilled workers, and other types of workers. A PERM certification must show that the employment of the foreign worker will not affect US workers in similar positions.

So in essence, an approved PERM certification clears the path for an employer to file an immigration petition and sponsor the foreign national for an employment-based green card under EB-2 or EB-3 categories.

Navigating the PERM Labor Certification Process

Obtaining PERM certification involves navigating a multi-step process with strict DOL rules. Here is a quick look at what employers can expect:

Employer Requirements

The employer sponsoring the foreign worker must be a US employer registered to do business in the US. They will work closely with an immigration attorney or accredited representative in preparing the PERM application.

Advertising the Position

industrial worker looking at blueprintBefore filing for PERM, the employer must advertise the position to recruit qualified US applicants. This involves running print ads in the newspaper on two Sundays as well as posting internal job notices. The employer must maintain documentation of this recruitment effort.

Filing ETA Form 9089 The employer then files ETA Form 9089, the official PERM application, along with supporting documentation. This comprehensive application requires information on the employer, job duties, requirements for the position, recruitment efforts, and more.

Obtaining Certification Decision

After filing, the employer must wait for a certification determination. PERM applications filed electronically can receive a decision within three to four months. Mailed applications take around six months.

If certified and no US workers are available for the offered job, PERM approval paves the way for the employer to move forward with green card sponsorship.

Securing Your Green Card After PERM Labor Certificate Approval

Once PERM labor certification is obtained, two more key steps remain for the foreign worker before getting their employment-based green card:

Employer Files I-140 Immigrant Petition

The employer must file Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) in the name of the sponsored employee. This second step in the process establishes that the worker meets the requirements for EB-2 or EB-3 categories.

Employee Files Adjustment of Status

When a visa becomes available, the employee then files Form I-485 to adjust status to permanent resident. This application must be filed while the worker is residing in the United States. The entire green card process from PERM to I-485 approval generally takes 2-3 years.

Benefits of Permanent Resident Status

Gaining permanent residency opens doors to long-awaited stability and opportunities in the United States. As a lawful permanent resident, you can:

  • Permanently reside and work in the US
  • Own property and assets
  • Attend university and pay lower tuition
  • Travel freely within and outside of US borders
  • Pursue citizenship after five years of established US residency

PERM certification helps highly skilled individuals transition from temporary to permanent status — ultimately allowing them to plant deep roots and make the United States their permanent home.

Pride Immigration Helps Put You on the Path to Achieve Your US Dreams Through the Power of a PERM Labor Certification

worn work glove holding old wrench and US American, flagPride Immigration’s experienced team has helped hundreds of employers and potential employees effectively navigate PERM labor certification and employment-based green card processes.

We handle cases involving H-1B visas, employment-based green cards, PERM labor certification, naturalization, and more. With in-depth knowledge across all areas of business immigration law, our dedicated attorneys provide seamless guidance and support to clients every step of the way.

Whether you’re an employer seeking top global talent or a driven professional pursuing the American Dream, we have the answers and resources you need to achieve success.

Contact us today at (703) 594-4040 or online to ask any questions and get started on mapping your personalized route to US permanent residency.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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