A permanent labor certification (PERM) issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a certified labor certification application from the DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
DOL processes Applications for Permanent Employment Certification, ETA Form 9089, with the exception of Schedule A and sheepherder applications filed under 20 CFR § 656.16. The date the labor certification application is received by the DOL is known as the filing date and is used by USCIS and the Department of State as the priority date. After the labor certification application is certified by DOL, it should be submitted to the appropriate USCIS Service Center with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The certification has a validity period of 180-days and expires if not submitted to USCIS within this period.
Then, the employer must conduct good faith recruitment to see if there are any qualified U.S. workers for thePERM job. He must advertise the job in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment. The employer must also advertise the job with the state workforce agency and post a notice of the job opportunity at the work site.
Detailed Program Description is available here.
The actual process for permanent labor certification varies depending upon the program being used. This Web site contains information regarding the process for filing for each of the programs under the Department of Labor's (DOL) jurisdiction. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized in his/her behalf. In general, the DOL works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.
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