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Navigating the PERM Labor Certification Process in Texas

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What is a PERM Labor Certificate?

The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process is how U.S. employers may sponsor foreign nationals for permanent employment opportunities in the United States.

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issues permanent labor certifications to U.S. companies and employers that would like to hire foreign nationals for permanent employment. To be issued such a certification, one must go through the PERM application process. The US employer must receive the PERM labor certificate prior to hiring the foreign worker.

The PERM process ensures that the hiring of the foreign worker will not negatively impact the job opportunities, wages, or working conditions of the US workforce.

What Are the PERM Labor Certification Requirements?

Once all basic requirements have been fulfilled, the perm process may begin. Both the U.S. employer and the prospective foreign employee must have met certain obligations in order for the process to commence.

Requirements for PERM labor certifications include the following:

  • The foreign national employee must be hired for a full-time job opening by their US employer.
  • The job position must be a bona fide job offer that was also offered and available to qualified US workers.
  • The qualifications for the job must be standard for the field and not tailored specifically for the purposes of hiring foreign employees.
  • The wage for the job position must meet prevailing wage requirements, meaning that the wage is equal to or greater than the average wage for those employed in other similar positions.
  • The United States employer must show that there are no qualified and willing American workers available for the job and that hiring a foreign employee will not adversely affect the U.S. workforce.

Our attorneys have extensive legal experience representing clients in complex immigration cases, including qualifying for PERM labor certificates. To learn more about our legal services, please contact our Dallas-based law office to schedule your initial consultation today.

What is the Role of U.S. Employers?

Employers play a vital role in the certification process. Their responsibilities include applying for and establishing prevailing wage determinations, conducting recruitment efforts according to Department of Labor standards, and providing documentation proving the unavailability of qualified and willing US workers.

After the PERM labor certification is issued, US employers may file Form I-140 on behalf of the foreign workers.

It is crucial that both the foreign workers and the US employer be in constant compliance with U.S. government regulations. Any small error or misstep could lead to a denial or delay.

What is the PERM Labor Certification Process?

In step one of the PERM process, the US employer must identify a permanent full-time job position. They must also determine the basic minimum requirements for fulfilling the job duties and the scope of the work.

Employers must submit a request for a prevailing wage determination to the DOL. This ensures that the salary offered to the foreign worker is comparable to that of domestic workers in similar jobs.

The US employer then places a job order with the state workforce agency. After this, the employers must make recruitment efforts to confirm that there are no willing and able US workers available for the job opening.

Once recruitment efforts have concluded, the necessary documentation, including Form ETA-9089, will be prepared and filed with the Department of Labor.

At this stage, the DOL may request a comprehensive audit to prove that the recruitment process was adequately conducted.

Have There Been Any Recent Changes to the PERM Labor Certification Process?

In early 2023, the DOL announced that PERM applications now needed to be filed through the foreign labor applications gateway (flag). In previous years, PERM certifications were filed through the foreign labor certification permanent online system. With this change, US employers are no longer required to register an account and create a subaccount for their attorneys in order to file Form ETA-9089.

Additionally, the Department of Labor will no longer send employer sponsorship verification questionnaires. There may also be additional questions asked of applicants, including whether the employer has contracted with an agent or attorney.

How Long Does It Typically Take to Obtain a PERM Labor Certification?

The processing times for PERM labor certifications can vary wildly. On average, the processing time for PERMs can be completed within ten months, and some cases have been completed in as little as six months. Audits, inconsistencies in paperwork, and other factors may potentially slow things down.

Are There Any Useful Strategies for Avoiding PERM Delays?

The process for PERM labor certification can be complex, lengthy, and challenging. There are a few methods that US employers may consider in order to help avoid additional delays in the processing time.

One strategy is for employers to begin recruitment while the prevailing wage determination (PWD) is still pending.

Audits can be issued at random, but there are certain ways to trigger an audit that may slow the process down. Work with experienced attorneys for legal assistance avoiding audits. If an audit happens randomly or is triggered, your lawyers can help you through it.

It’s essential to ensure that the PERM application is accurate and that the foreign national worker qualifies for the process. Again, our lawyers would be proud to assist you in these matters, as any legal issues during the application process could result in lengthy delays or even denials.

Contact Our Immigration Law Firm to Schedule an In-Depth Case Evaluation Today

While labor certification is not required for all employment-based green cards, it is a necessary process that many employers and foreign employees must undertake. If you are going through the process or are intimidated by the very idea of beginning the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our law offices to schedule a case review today.

You may contact us at 214-393-4917.

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