Employment-Based Green Card Application: Labor Certification Application (AKA PERM)

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This is the beginning blog post in a three-part series titled, “Employment-Based Green Card Application.” Today’s post is a summary of the initial step in the employment based green card application process, the Labor Certification Application (AKA PERM).

Part 1: Labor Certification Application (AKA PERM)

The first step in obtaining an employment-based green card is to obtain a certified PERM application from the US Department of Labor. An employer can submit a Labor Certification application to the US Department of Labor after it determines that there are no US workers who meet the minimum requirements of the position and are willing and able to perform the job.

The key to a successful labor certification application is an accurate determination of the minimum requirements necessary to perform the job function. The information required of the U.S. employer in regard to the green card position is as follows:

  • Job Title
  • Salary
  • Job Description
  • Minimum Job Requirements
  • Education, Credentials, and Experience
  • Location of employment
  • Any any other items related to the job

Not only is it critical that the minimum job requirements be outlined correctly, but they must also be accompanied by a full and cogent explanation as well.

Note: A thorough and competent immigration attorney will ensure that they’ve obtained the correct and accurate information before painstakingly drafting the necessary paperwork. Equally as important, the foreign national who is being sponsored for the green card must also obviously meet the minimum job requirements, otherwise the process will fail.

Once the process has begun, the next step will be requesting a prevailing wage determination from the DOL regarding the stated position.

After that step is completed, the position will be publicly advertised based on a set of very strict criteria set forth by DOL PERM regulations, depending on which of two categories the recruitment falls under: Professional, or Non-Professional.

First, the “Professional” category. This category requires placement of two Sunday newspaper ads, a job order with the State Work Agency (SWA), an internal company posting, and three additional recruitment avenues out of the following list of 10:

  1. Job Fair
  2. Employer’s Website
  3. Additional, Non-Employer Website
  4. On-Campus Recruitment
  5. Trade or Professional Organization
  6. Private Employment Firm
  7. Incentivized Employee Referral Program
  8. Campus Placement Office
  9. Local and Ethnic Newspaper
  10. Radio and Television Advertisement

For the “non-professional category,” only the two aforementioned newspaper advertisements plus the SWA job order is required.

Note: The firm handling the application process will be responsible for all of the particulars of the advertisement process, except the costs of said advertisements.

Additionally, the immigration law firm will work with the sponsoring employer in deciding on the recruitment avenues and will provide guidance and protocol in regard to how to communicate with potential applicants and evaluate resumes.

The final step is the law firm drafting all documents to be signed by the sponsoring employer, and submit the PERM application to the DOL. Usually after reviewing the application, the DOL will grant the certification unless the case is selected for audit.

Audits can occur randomly or due to a known audit trigger. An audit doesn’t necessarily mean an application will be denied; rather, more specific, detailed, or supporting information is most likely required.

As mentioned, a thorough, competent, and professional immigration lawyer is familiar with all of the common audit triggers, and will help navigate the process so that the likelihood of incurring an audit is greatly reduced. Despite their expertise, however, there can be no prior guarantee of not receiving an audit, as some audits are random and for some cases it is truly impossible to avoid an audit trigger.

For more information on the employment-based green card application process, contact Lightman Law Firm at (212) 643-0985 or submit a consultation request online

Lightman Law Firm was recently honored as New York’s 2014 Immigration Law Firm of the Year by Acquisition International. Additionally, founding attorney, Douglas Lightman, was named a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers.com. Lightman Law Firm also carries a 4.9 rating on Google Reviews.