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How Do I File A PERM Labor Certification?

September 19, 2023
  • Business Immigration

by Natalie McQuilkin

In our past business blogs, we’ve covered the bases for what a PERM labor certification is, what the certification’s benefits are, and what the sponsorship’s most common industries and jobs are . If you’re a business owner, you’re probably left with one final question: How do I file a PERM?

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into each step required in the PERM labor certification process to ensure you know what you need to file.

Three Initial Steps

Obtaining a PERM labor certification can be divided into three initial stages: determining the open position, filing and receiving the prevailing wage from the Department of Labor, and then recruiting job candidates. Although these steps are time consuming and detail oriented, it’s necessary to partake in these processes to ensure your PERM labor certification gets approved.

1. Identify the Open Position

The first step in the PERM labor certification process requires you to determine that there is an open, permanent, and full-time position at your company. The details of this position will be important throughout the entire PERM process, so it’s a good idea to establish the job title, job responsibilities, and education and experience requirements.

3. Prevailing Wag Determination

Once your business has identified a permanent, full-time job position that could be filled by a candidate from overseas, the first step of filing the PERM labor certification is determining the prevailing wage, or the average hourly pay for U.S. citizen workers in a specific job and location. This ensures the wages of U.S. workers will not decrease if foreign nationals are hired for a similar job in their area. Determining the prevailing wage also gives you a look at the minimum of what you must pay the foreign national candidate.

To obtain the prevailing wage, you must submit the Form ETA-9141, or the Application for Prevailing Wage, to the National Prevailing Wage Center. This form requires you to fill out information about the job offer, job description, and job requirements as well as the job’s location. You can file this form electronically with the Department of Labor’s FLAG system.

Once the form is filed, you will receive a prevailing wage determination from the National Prevailing Wage Center after a couple of months, although the processing times vary. This determination considers the job duties, required education and experience, and the job’s location to determine the minimum wage that you must pay your employee. Once you receive the prevailing wage determination, you can move on to the next step in the PERM labor certification process: recruitment.

4. Recruitment

Before filing the PERM labor certification, your business must engage in a recruitment process, which allows you to determine if there are any skilled, qualified, or willing U.S. citizen candidates in your area. To get the word out that your place of business is hiring, you must advertise the available job position.

The recruitment process for “professional” jobs differs from “non-professional” jobs. For professional jobs, you must submit the following:

  • a job order in the State Workforce Agency,
  • a job posting at your place of business,
  • a job advertisement in two Sundays editions of a local newspaper,
  • and three additional job postings, which can range from a radio show advertisement to an online job board posting.

Non-professional jobs simply require you to place a job order in the State Workforce Agent, post a job opening at your place of business, and advertise the job opening in two Sunday editions of a local newspaper.

There are several important timelines to consider when posting these advertisements. For instance, before the recruitment process is complete, you must wait 30 days after the State Workforce Agency advertisements have ended to ensure all candidates have submitted their application. To support your findings, you must prepare a recruitment report, and you’re required to keep all evidence of your recruitment process for five years in case the Department of Labor needs additional documentation about your efforts to obtain the prevailing wage determination and attempt to recruit new hires. Once the recruitment process is complete, you can move on to filing the PERM labor certification.

Filing the PERM Labor Certification

Once you have proven that your business would benefit from hiring candidates from overseas for a permanent, full-time position here in the United States, you can finally file the ETA Form 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification. This form requires you to fill out information about the prevailing wage, the job opportunity, and the foreign candidate’s information. To ensure you’re submitting all the necessary materials when filing the PERM labor certification, you can work with Eagan Immigration’s experienced business attorney, Hannah Whaley.

How Do I Check the Status of My PERM Application?

You can log on to the U.S. Department of Labor’s FLAG website to access the processing times for PERM application reviews. The charts on the website include information about the current “priority date,” which is when the PERM was filed, and what processing queue the priority date is in. There is also a chart that tracks the average number of days to process PERM applications.

How Long Does PERM Approval Take?

As of September 2023, the Department of Labor estimates it will take more than 300 days to analyze PERM applications submitted in July 2023 and nearly 500 days to audit the applications. These long processing times are a major reason why it’s important to start your PERM process as soon as possible.

What Do I Do After the PERM Labor Certification Is Approved?

Once the PERM labor certification is sent to the U.S. Department of Labor, it can take months to be approved. However, after it’s been approved, it’s time to move onto the next step: filing the Form I-140, or Immigrant Petition for Immigrant Workers. This allows the foreign national new hire to apply for a permanent, employment-based green card. You must file the Form I-140 with the approved permanent labor certification. Once thisHowever, in certain cases, you can you can file the I-140 and I-485 simultaneously when you are in the US.

The PERM labor certification can be confusing, especially for employers who have never had experience with filing immigration-based forms. Moreover, it’s a lengthy process that requires a lot of energy on your part. To reduce the risk of having the PERM labor certification denied, it’s best to partner with a business immigration lawyer. Here at Eagan Immigration, our business immigration lawyer, Hannah Whaley, has extensive experience in this field. If you’re interested in learning more about the process or connecting with Attorney Whaley, call us at (202) 750-5170 today to speak with one of our specialists or visit this link to schedule a consultation.


Permanent Labor Certification Details (doleta.gov)

Prevailing Wages | Flag.dol.gov

Prevailing Wage Information and Resources | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)

eCFR :: 20 CFR 656.17 — Basic labor certification process.

Permanent Labor Certification | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)