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PERM Labor

The PERM or Program Electronic Review Management System Labor Certification is the first step in the process of applying for employment-based lawful permanent residency (green card).


The objective of PERM is to defend U.S. workers and the job market. This means that the process was created to ensure that foreign workers are not filling the positions that could otherwise be filled by qualified U.S. workers.


The PERM applicant must submit a comprehensive application to the Department of Labor in order to demonstrate how his/her exceptional skills cannot be duplicated by an available U.S. worker. 




PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management System Labor Certification. The certificate itself is often called “PERM labor certification” because obtaining a PERM is equivalent to a labor certificate. It’s important to note that the PERM labor certificate is not a visa and it doesn’t guarantee one. 

Employment-based visas require you to have a PERM labor certificate before you even apply for your visa. PERM immigration is one part of the entire immigration process.

Requirements and eligibility

In order to qualify to begin the PERM process, the following requirements must first be met:


  • You must have an existing permanent job offer by a U.S. employer

  • The offered wages are required to be equal or above the DOL prevailing wage. DOL will subject this to the specific position.

  • The local job market has been analysed for qualified candidates. This is required to provide evidence that U.S. workers are unable to complete the requirements of the position, meaning that no qualified native workers are available for the position. Supplementary documentation relating to recruiting efforts must be made available if requested.

  • The U.S. employer is obligated to construct and maintain an audit file with additional proof of attempts at recruitment.


PERM regulations mandate that recruitment steps for both professional and non-professional positions be completed within 6 months of filing the PERM application.


The steps must be conducted at least 30 days but no more than 180 days before the filing of the application. For both professional and non-professional positions, the employer must wait 30 days after the end of the recruitment period before filing the ETA 9089. This is to ensure that any qualified U.S. workers have a reasonable time period in which to respond to your ads or job order.

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Application process / Green Card



Step 1: Formulate job duties and minimum requirements


  • Establish the crucial details of the job for which the employee is being sponsored

  • The employer must articulate the job requirements based on DOL regulations and realistic business practices

  • Obtain and check the beneficiary’s educational documents and work experience letters

  • Creating PERM piston includes:

    • Job Title

    • Job Duties

    • Work Location

    • Minimum Requirements (Degree, Work Experience, Other)

    • Where (address) to send Resumes


Step 2: Request prevailing wage determination (PWD) from DOL


  • Submit an online PWD request to the Department of Labor

  • DOL will determine the prevailing wage for the position in the specified geographic location

  • Prevailing wage will based on the job duties, minimum requirements, and other details

  • PWD sets the minimum wage that the employer must be willing to pay the employee, at the time that the employee becomes a legal permanent resident


Step 3: Conduct recruitment


  • Advertisements will be placed to test the labor market

  • This labor market test for PERM purposes must be conducted in conformity with DOL rules:

    • Internal Notice of Filing

    • 2 Sundays in Major Newspaper where permanent position is located

    • 30 days in the State Workforce Agency

    • For Professional Positions choose 3 of the following 10 options:

      • Employer’s website

      • Job Fair

      • Job search website other than the employers.

      • On-campus recruiting.

      • Trade or professional organizations.

      • Private employment firms.

      • Employee referral program with incentives.

      • Campus placement offices.

      • Local and ethnic newspapers.

      • Radio and television advertisements.

  • If an able, willing and qualified US worker applies for the position, we will need to stop the process, wait at least 6 months, and then re-test the labor market, perhaps with modified criteria


Step 4: Submit PERM to DOL


  • Prepare and File DOL Form ETA 9089 online.

  • A chance of the case being audited is small: nationally the audit rate is about 25%, but with CBK the rate is less than 5%.



Step 5: File I-140 employer's immigrant visa petition with USCIS


  • Employers need to show that the company can pay the employee the prevailing wage.

  • The employee must show that she/he has all of the qualifications for the job.

  • Petition must be submitted with the Labor Certification approval notice, which is only valid for 180 days.


Step 6: Wait for priority date to become current


  • Depending on the green card category and the country of chargeability, immigrant visa number may not be immediately available.

  • Please refer to the visa bulletin for the current information.

  • If the priority date is current when the PERM is approved, we may be able to move to next step immediately and file the I-485 application together with the I-140.


Step 7: File I-485

  • I-485 is a personal green card application filed by the employee named in the I-140 petition and by her/his derivative family members (spouse and children).

  • Adjustment of status application focuses on an employee's personal eligibility to receive a green card.

  • We can request a travel/work authorization card that can be used while I-485 is pending.


Step 8: Attend biometrics appointment

  • This will be in the USCIS office closest to your place of residence.


Step 9: Prepare for and attend interview with USCIS officer

  • About 12 months after filing the paperwork, we will receive an interview notice. Interview wait time varies greatly among different USCIS field offices.

  • Immigration officer will review the employee's green card application and all underlying immigration files.

  • Employees need to confirm that a job offer is still available, provide all the original civil documents, immigration status documents and previously completed medical exam on form I-693 in a closed envelope.

  • On rare occasions, when a visa number is no longer available, after the successful interview, the  I-485 form  will be sent to the National Benefits Center. 

    • In that scenario, USCIS will approve the green card as soon as a visa number becomes available again.

Processing times and Validity Period


With each step discussed above in mind, we can make an estimate on what the processing time will be, however, there are a number of factors that can drastically change the amount of time it will take.



The validity period for individual permanent labor certifications is 180 days, they will have this time to submit the permanent labor certification in support of a petition with USCIS.

  • USCIS rejects petitions that require an approved permanent labor certification if the permanent labor certification has expired or if the petition is filed without the approved permanent labor certification. 

  • USCIS denies a petition that was inadvertently accepted without a required, valid permanent labor certification.


As exceptions, USCIS accepts them if the original permanent labor certification was submitted in support of a previously filed petition during the permanent labor certification's validity period. These filings may occur when:

  • There is a successor-in-interest employer change, which requires a new or amended petition;

  • The petitioner wishes to file a new petition subsequent to the denial, revocation, or abandonment of the previously filed petition, and the permanent labor certification was not invalidated due to material misrepresentation or fraud relating to the labor certification application;

  • The petitioner files an amended petition to request a different immigrant visa classification than the classification requested in the previously filed petition; or

  • USCIS or U.S. Department of State (DOS) determines that the previously filed petition has been lost.

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