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Labor Certification

PERM Labor Certification

PERM: Labor Certification, Green Card

  • One of the most commonly used avenues for obtaining U.S. Permanent Residency (i.e., a "green card") through employment is through the PERM Labor Certification process.
  • In general, this process requires a U.S. employer to offer a foreign national a permanent, full time, job, and to "sponsor" the individual by fiilng this type of case. 
  • The key part of this process is the recruitment process, by which the U.S. employer must undertake a recruitment process, conforming to specific requirements, in order to establish that there are no U.S. workers to fill the position which is being offered to the foreign national.  This is what is known as "Labor Certification".  (Other detailed requirements and rules apply).
  • This process is available for most types of jobs; however, there are certain jobs which do not qualify because the law deems that there are sufficient U.S. workers to fill those jobs, as a matter of law.

For purposes of determining whether the alien gained experience with the employer, would an affiliate abroad or an acquiring...

For purposes of determining whether the alien gained experience with the employer, would an affiliate abroad or an acquiring company be considered an employer?

According to the Labor Department:

For purposes of determining whether the alien gained experience with the employer, an employer is "an entity with the same Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), provided it meets the definition of an employer at § 656.3."

Where must I post a Notice of Filing for a permanent labor certification for roving employees?

According to the Labor Department:

If the employer knows where the Schedule A employee will be placed, the employer must post the notice at that work-site(s) where the employee will perform the work and publish the notice internally using in-house media--whether electronic or print--in accordance with the normal internal procedures used by the employer to notify its employees of employment opportunities in the occupation in question. The prevailing wage indicated in the notice will be the wage applicable to the area of intended employment where the worksite is located.

If the employer does not know where the Schedule A employee will be placed, the employer must post the notice at that work-site(s) of all of its current clients, and publish the notice of filing internally using electronic and print media according to the normal internal procedures used by the employer to notify its employees of employment opportunities in the occupation in question. The prevailing wage will be derived from the area of the staffing agencies' headquarters.

What are the sequencing or timeframe requirements for the various additional recruitment steps?

According to the Labor Department:

Beyond the standard "no greater than 180 days and no less than 30 days prior to filing" there are no further timeframe requirements. The only sequencing requirement is that the two Sunday advertisements must be placed on two different Sundays which may be consecutive.

NOTE: There is one exception to the standard 30 – 180 days prior to filing timeframe: One of the additional steps required for recruitment for professional occupations may be conducted within 30 days prior to filing. However, no steps may have taken place more than 180 days prior to filing.

Is the employer required to provide notice of filing if an application is filed on behalf of a college and/or university ...

Is the employer required to provide notice of filing if an application is filed on behalf of a college and/or university teacher selected in the competitive selection and recruitment?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, the employer must provide a notice of filing which must include the advertisement information in § 656.18(b)(3), i.e., the job title, duties, and requirements as well as the information specified in § 656.10(d)(3).

What are the procedures to be followed in filing applications on behalf of aliens of exceptional ability in the performing ...

What are the procedures to be followed in filing applications on behalf of aliens of exceptional ability in the performing arts formerly processed under the special handling procedures in the former regulations?

According to the Labor Department:

Aliens of exceptional ability in the performing arts are now included in § 656.5, Schedule A, under Group II. Accordingly, such applications must be filed in duplicate with the appropriate office of the Department of Homeland Security. The documentation that must be filed in support of such applications is listed in § 656.15, Applications for labor certification for Schedule A occupations.

Does the BPC case continuance letter need to be signed only by the employer or can the attorney of record sign?

According to the Labor Department:

The Selection of Continuation Option Letter may be signed and submitted by either the employer or the employer's attorney/agent of record. We request, however, that employers and attorneys coordinate to determine who will submit the Selection of Continuation Option Letter to ensure that the appropriate Backlog Processing Center does not receive conflicting or duplicate responses. In the instance of conflicting responses, we will default to the employer's response.

Why have I not been contacted by the BEC or received any information about my case?

According to the Labor Department:

There are several possible reasons an employer or their attorney might not have heard anything from the BEC about the case. Some examples include, but are not limited to: 1) the State or Regional office may have disposed of the case prior to shipping and the applicant did not receive notification; 2) The State or Regional office may have inadvertently not shipped the case to the BEC; 3) the BEC may have attempted to contact the applicant but the contact information was incorrect; or 4) the BEC inadvertently omitted the case during data entry.

What level of detail regarding the job offer must be included in the advertisement?

According to the Labor Department:

Employers need to apprise applicants of the job opportunity. The regulation does not require employers to run advertisements enumerating every job duty, job requirement, and condition of employment. As long as the employer can demonstrate a logical nexus between the advertisement and the position listed on the employer’s application, the employer will meet the requirement of apprising applicants of the job opportunity. An advertisement that includes a description of the vacancy, the name of the employer, the geographic area of employment, and the means to contact the employer to apply may be sufficient to apprise potentially qualified applicants of the job opportunity.

NOTE: While employers will have the option to place broadly written advertisements with few details regarding job duties and requirements, they must prepare a recruitment report that addresses all minimally qualified applicants for the job opportunity. If an employer places a generic advertisement, the employer may receive a large volume of applicants, all of whom must be addressed in the recruitment report. Employers placing general advertisements may wish to include a job identification code or other information to assist the employer in tracking applicants to the job opportunity.

Must the employer obtain a prevailing wage determination before the employer begins recruitment?

According to the Labor Department:

No, the employer does not need to wait until it receives a prevailing wage determination before beginning recruitment. However, the employer must be aware that in its recruiting process, which includes providing a notice of filing stating the rate of pay, the employer is not permitted to offer a wage rate lower than the prevailing wage rate. Similarly, during the recruitment process, the employer may not make an offer lower than the prevailing wage to a U.S. worker.

How detailed does the recruitment report have to be with respect to the lawful, job-related reasons U.S. workers were rejected?

According to the Labor Department:

The employer must categorize the lawful job-related reasons for rejection of U.S. applicants and provide the number of U.S. applicants rejected in each category. The recruitment report does not have to identify the individual U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity.

NOTE: The Certifying Officer, after reviewing the employer’s recruitment report, may request the U.S. workers' resumes or applications, sorted by the lawful job related reasons the workers were rejected.

Must the notice of filing contain the rate of pay for an application filed on behalf of a college or university teacher...

Must the notice of filing contain the rate of pay for an application filed on behalf of a college or university teacher selected in a competitive selection and recruitment process?

According to the Labor Department:

No, a rate of pay does not need to be included in a notice of filing for an application filed on behalf of a college or university teacher selected in a competitive selection and recruitment process.

When, during an audit, is there a 90 day suspension of the audit?

According to the Labor Department:

Under § 656.31(a), Department of Labor processing of an application, including audit procedures, may be suspended in certain circumstances. Specifically; "If possible fraud or willful misrepresentation involving a labor certification is discovered before a final labor certification determination; the Certifying Officer will refer the matter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for investigation, and must send a copy of the referral to the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General (DOL OIG). If 90 days pass without the filing of a criminal indictment or information, or receipt of a notification from DHS, DOL OIG, or other appropriate authority that an investigation is being conducted, the Certifying Officer may continue to process the application."

Is there a date by which an employer's original application must have been filed in order to be eligible for conversion ...

Is there a date by which an employer's original application must have been filed in order to be eligible for conversion from TR to RIR?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, applications must have been postmarked on or before March 28, 2005. This is an extension from the prior deadline and essentially includes all open TR cases in the backlog for which a job order has not been initiated.

If I send in the required information about my case, will I have to respond to a Center Receipt Notification Letter (CRNL) ...

If I send in the required information about my case, will I have to respond to a Center Receipt Notification Letter (CRNL) indicating that I want to continue?

According to the Labor Department:

If the information you provide is sufficient to reconstruct the case, you will not have to respond to a CRNL as the request about the case will be taken as proof of a desire to continue. However, if information is missing that is required to continue processing, you may receive a CRNL with a corrections list of information required to continue processing. You should respond to this letter within the 45-day timeframe.

DOL still accepts some Reduction in Recruitment (RIR) Conversions for traditional LABOR CERTIFICATION cases.

As of October 27, 2006, the Labor Department (DOL) is still accepting conversions of traditional Labor Certification cases (non-PERM) to Reduction in Recruitment (RIR), PROVIDED that the job order has NOT yet been placed for the traditional case. If an RIR conversion is received by DOL with a postmark or express courier shipping date that is prior the date DOL places the job order, DOL will accpet the RIR conversion and cancel the job order.

Of course, petitioners may wish to consider converting the case to PERM instead.

How long must supporting documents be retained?

According to the Labor Department:

The employer is required to retain all supporting documentation for five years from the date of filing the Application for Permanent Employment Certification, ETA Form 9089.

For how long must the employer publish a notice of filing in the employer's in-house media?

According to the Labor Department:

If the employer normally recruits for similar positions in the employer's organization through in-house media, then the employer must publish the notice of filing in its in-house media in accordance with the employer's normal procedures for recruitment of similar positions or for 10 consecutive business days, whichever is of longer duration.

Will placing an advertisement on America's Job Bank (AJB) satisfy the "web site other than the employer's" requirement?

Will placing an advertisement on America's Job Bank (AJB) satisfy the "web site other than the employer's" additional step requirement for professional occupations?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, but only if the placement is not being used to satisfy the job order requirement. Where the State Workforce Agency job order placement procedure consists of placement of the job order on AJB, then that job order placement can not be counted as one of the additional recruiting steps.

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You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

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"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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