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PERM Labor Certification Lawyers

Are you a Chicago or Dallas employer who is interested in hiring a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States? You’re going to need to apply for a PERM labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) before you can file a petition with USCIS on behalf of the foreign worker. Up front, the process appears fairly straightforward, but that’s not typically the case. To obtain approval, you will need to establish that there are no qualified and willing U.S. workers to fill the position at the offered wage, and that hiring the foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similar workers in the United States workforce. 

At Khalaf & Abuzir, our PERM labor certification lawyers have more than 30 years of experience helping employers and foreign workers reach their goals. We can help you with your employment-based immigration needs.

Immigration lawyers Vivian Khalaf and Omar Abuzir
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What Is a PERM Labor Certification?

A Permanent labor certification, often referred to as Program Electronic Review Management, or “PERM,” is an employment certification issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as part of the employment-based immigration process. It is specifically designed for employers who wish to hire foreign workers to fill permanent, full-time positions in the United States. To obtain a PERM labor certification, employers must demonstrate that there are no available U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform the job for which the certification is sought.

Once granted, the PERM labor certification is a crucial component in an employer’s sponsorship of a foreign worker’s green card application.

What Is the PERM Labor Certification Process?

The labor certification process involves a rigorous recruitment and advertising campaign to test the labor market’s availability.

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What Is the Application Process for Labor Certification?

The application process for labor certification is extensive and frequently takes up to 18 months to complete. Employers must complete various recruitment activities to “test” the labor market. This includes establishing a job title, description, working conditions, and the offered wage, and placing the job order in the State Workforce Agency for 30 days. The employer must also post the notice of opening at the workplace and within in-house media for 10 days, giving internal notice to current employees, and post two print ads in the area’s largest newspaper. The company must then register with the DOL and verify its existence.  

The employer will also need to review any submitted resumes and applications, and interview any qualified candidates. If no viable candidates exist, the employer will retain all records of recruitment activities and may submit an application for labor certification.

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What if the Employer Is Selected for Audit?

If an employer is selected for a PERM labor certification audit, it means that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has decided to review the employer’s application and supporting documentation more thoroughly. Audits are typically triggered by random selection or specific factors that may raise concerns during the initial processing of the PERM application.

When an employer is audited, they must respond promptly and provide the DOL with the requested documents, such as recruitment records, resumes of applicants, and any other evidence related to the recruitment process. Failure to comply with the audit request or submit accurate and complete documentation can lead to the denial of the PERM labor certification application. If the audit reveals any discrepancies, the DOL may require the employer to conduct additional recruitment or refile the application. While an audit can delay the process, employers who have maintained thorough and accurate records as part of their PERM application are better positioned to navigate the audit process successfully and continue with the green card sponsorship for their foreign worker.

What Are the Requirements for PERM Labor Certification Approval?

For a PERM labor certification application to be approved, certain conditions must be met. 

  1. Permanent Position: The position must be permanent and full time. Part-time, seasonal, and temporary positions are ineligible. 
  2. Reasonable Requirements: Job duties cannot be tailored specifically to match the qualifications or skills of the foreign worker. 
  3. Prevailing Wage: The foreign worker must receive the prevailing wage that qualified U.S. workers with similar qualifications would receive for the same position.
  4. Labor Market:The current labor market must not provide willing, able, and qualified U.S. workers for the position.

Failing to follow the correct procedures and meet the requirements for labor certification can result in delays or even a denial of your application. Our labor certification lawyers can guide you through the proper steps to reduce the risk of a denial or delay. 

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Immigration lawyer Omar Abuzir
Omar A. Abuzir
Immigration Lawyer
Chicago immigration lawyer Vivian Khalaf
Vivian Khalaf
Immigration Lawyer

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~Regina

Who Can Skip Labor Certification?

There is such a shortage of workers in some occupations in the United States that qualified foreign workers and their United States employers can bypass the PERM labor certification process in its entirety. Registered nurses and physical therapists are considered Schedule A workers, for instance. They can work permanently in the United States as long as they have a legitimate, full time job offer, will be making at least the prevailing wage, are licensed or able to become licensed in the state where they will be working, and their employer applies for and receives a Schedule A designation.

FAQs About Labor Certification in the United States

What Is the Labor Certification Processing Time?

On average, the processing time for PERM labor certifications is approximately 7.5 months from when you submitted your certificate. If your application is selected for audit, however, the process can take between 12 and 18 months. 

Why Would a Labor Certification Be Denied?

Your labor certification application may be denied if you fault to complete the requirements of the recruiting process, you submit incomplete or inaccurate information, or you fail to promptly produce documentation if you are selected for audit. Your Notice of Denial from the DOL should include the grounds for denial. 

What Do I Do if My PERM Application Is Denied?

If your application is denied, you can file a Request for Reconsideration with the Department of Labor within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. You will need to include an explanation of why you think the denial was incorrect and include documentation to support your request. 

If you don’t hear back within 30 days of submitting your request, or your request is denied, you can file an appeal with the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA).