PERM Labor Certification Process for Companies Seeking to Hire Immigrant Workers

PERM, or the Program Electronic Review Management System, is the process through which employers looking to hire foreign nationals to work in the United States on a permanent basis may gain approval. An employer, for the sake of this process is defined as a person, firm, association, or corporation with an opportunity for full-time employment at a location within the United States, and in the possession of a valid Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN). See 20 CFR §656.3. Before the employer can petition to bring the immigrant worker to the United States, (s)he must apply for labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). If approved, the Secretary of Labor then certifies there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available at the time of application to fill the position, and that the employment of an immigrant worker would not adversely affect the wages of U.S. workers similarly employed. See 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)(A).

The PERM approval process is slightly different from the approval process for temporary workers. The Application for Permanent Employment, ETA 9089, requires that the employer already have received a prevailing wage determination (PWD) from the DOL for the job opportunity in question. Included on the employer’s ETA 9089 should be information received from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) when the PWD was made, including: the prevailing wage tracking number; the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code for the occupation listed on the PWD request; the occupational title associated with the SOC assigned by the NPWC; the skill level of the job as determined by the NPWC; the prevailing wage rate as determined by the NPWC; the source of the determination (e.g. Collective Bargaining Agreement, survey, etc.); and the dates of the prevailing wage’s issuance and expiration. See www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov for more information.

Summary: PERM, or the Program Electronic Review Management System, is the process through which employers looking to hire foreign nationals to work in the United States on a permanent basis may gain approval. PERM applicants must file form ETA 9089 with the Department of Labor.