PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) labor certification is a process that employers must go through in order to hire a foreign immigrant worker on a permanent basis. It is the first step for a foreign national to obtain a green card. The PERM Labor Certificate processing time has widely varied over time and even today depends on a number of factors including how it is submitted. At its best, the PERM processing time in 2017 can take around six months from the time it was filed if certain conditions are met.
PERM Processing Time 2017
To get a firm understanding of how long you can expect for the PERM processing time, we must first go over what goes into the PERM process. Here are the basic steps:
- Your employer must first file a prevailing wage request to determine how much you, the beneficiary, should be paid based on the job location and economic environment.
- Your employer must then go through an extensive recruitment process. This involves posting multiple advertisements in a variety of locations and interviewing potential U.S. workers who apply.
- Your employer needs to file the ETA-9089 form to apply for the PERM.
Here is a breakdown of the processing times for each step.
PERM Processing Time: Prevailing Wage
It is usually a good idea to wait until you have obtained the prevailing wage determination from the DOL before beginning the next step in the PERM process. This processing time varies considerably depending on how many requests are being made and for which area.
There have been times where the prevailing wage determination has taken over two months to arrive when other times it merely takes a few weeks. It is important to plan accordingly.
PERM Processing Time: Recruitment
This step, while not the longest, is definitely the most involved. This requires your employer to post a job order, place ads in newspapers, and also put ads in other places like college campuses, online, or on the radio. The job order needs to run for at least 30 days, then you must wait 30 more days to give people the opportunity to respond to the ad.
So 60 days is the minimum amount of time that this part of the process will take. You also need to take into account the amount of time it will take for interviews and follow-up interviews if any are necessary.
PERM Processing Time: Application
Once the recruitment process is completed, your employer can then file the ETA-9089 PERM application.
The PERM processing time is shortest if the online submission is not audited by the Department of Labor (DOL). In this scenario, a decision is typically met within six months of filing.
When an employer files a PERM, they should receive a verification email which includes a sponsorship questionnaire. If the employer fails to respond to the email within a week, the DOL will then attempt to contact the employer for a phone verification.
Verification by phone can also seriously delay the PERM processing time and the DOL will only make three attempts to reach the sponsor. The DOL also maintains PERM stats and a PERM tracker about current cases that can help you get a picture of how long it will take your case if you file within that time period.
PERM Labor Processing Time with an Audit
Sometimes the DOL will choose to take a closer look at an application with an audit. If so, the overall processing time can significantly increase. These audits come in two varieties: random audits and targeted audits.
Random audits are just that: random. The DOL uses these to help make sure that as few people as possible are able to take advantage of the system. Because these selections are entirely random, there is no way to prepare for or anticipate these kinds of audits.
However, there are a few factors that can make a targeted PERM labor audit more likely. For instance, targeted audits can be triggered if:
- the job requires less than a Bachelor’s degree
- the beneficiary owns stock in the company
- the position is related to trade
- the beneficiary is a relative of the employer
- the beneficiary does not seem qualified for the position
- applications involve certain predetermined public schools
- a degree is required without work experience, and if the employer acknowledges a recent layoff in the application.
Currently, audits are generally issued within six months of filing. If your application is audited, you will be sent a letter which can take about two to three weeks to arrive and you have thirty days to respond to the audit.
Once the DOL receives the audit response, the audits are completed in the order that they are received. It can take up to nine months from the audit date to reach a decision. So the PERM processing time can increase to a year and a half should your employer receive an audit.
However, it is important to note that requests that are audited aren’t automatically rejected. Even if the process is audited and it takes a long time before you see a decision, you may still be approved.
Supervised Recruitment PERM Processing Time
In some circumstances, the Department of Labor may decide that an employer requires additional recruitment measures that are directly supervised. This is done to ensure that a company is using adequate recruitment measures to find and hire qualified US workers before opening the position to immigrants or foreign nationals.
When an employer is notified that their case has been designated for supervised recruitment they have thirty days to send an advertorial draft based on the DOL’s stipulations. Then, the DOL may take anywhere between a couple of weeks to a few months to review and approve the advertisement. During the time before approval, they may also require more information about the position.
Once the content of the advertisement is approved, the employer only has 15 days to publish the ad on media forms that are also determined by the DOL. The department will then have an open sixty day recruitment period, in which they will send the employer any applicants.
After that, the employer must submit a report that records the recruitment process within 30 days. The DOL takes a minimum of 30 days to process the report and reach a final decision. Unfortunately, there are no standardized time frames for PERM processing in supervised recruitment. Instead, it’s important to keep in touch with the DOL and follow up frequently.
PERM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some questions that we often get in our office regarding the PERM Labor Certification.
Q. What is the difference between the PERM and an LCA?
The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is often confused with the PERM due to the fact that they are both associated with the Department of Labor. However, they are entirely different. The LCA is for H-1B visas and simply requires the employer to make four attestations to ensure that working conditions for those currently employed.
As you know, the PERM, on the other hand, is only for certain employment-based green cards.
Q. How much does the PERM cost?
Fortunately, there is no filing fee for the ETA 9089. However, your employer will likely encounter costs associated with posting advertisements for the position throughout the recruitment process.
Q. Is there any way to get around the PERM?
There are only a few situations in which you would not need to have your employer obtain a PERM on your behalf. All three categories of the EB-1 green card do not require the PERM. Additionally, if you qualify for the EB-2 but would like to avoid the PERM requirement, you will need to apply for a National Interest Waiver, which would require you to demonstrate that the U.S. would benefit more from waiving the PERM requirement than it would be enforcing it.
Q. How are the days in the PERM timeline counted?
When the recruitment process is in effect, you will need to keep the job order posted for 30 days. The day that the job order is posted is not counted. However, the day afterward is counted as the first day. Then the last day will be counted as the 30th. This method applies to all time-sensitive events in the PERM process.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
If you are concerned about your EB2 PERM processing time, the best thing you can do to speed up your processing time is to follow directions given by the DOL and respond to them promptly. You can use PERM trackers to follow your case with a case number. You can also use the processing time information provided by the Department of Labor to track the general current PERM processing times so you can properly plan your PERM application process.
PERM processing can be confusing and intimidating, particularly when an audit or supervised recruitment is involved. To get a better idea of what your PERM processing time will be, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys today.