What Is PERM Labor Certification?
PERM labor certification is an application process pursued by an employer on behalf of an employee and is the first step of a 3-step employer sponsored lawful permanent residence (green card) process. PERM is the U.S. Department of Labor’s acronym for its electronic intake management system: Program Electronic Review Management. Upon the successful completion of the labor certification process with DOL, the next step is to forward the certified labor certification application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to complete the I-140 petition step of the process. The last and final step of the process is adjustment of status (the I-485 application step), which is completed inside the U.S. Consular processing (CP) through a U.S. consulate abroad is sometimes used in place of adjustment of status, but is less favored due to less convenience and fewer legal protections for the employee.
What Are Employment-Based Preference Categories?
The lawful permanent residence process is regulated by a quota system. The annual quota of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas (commonly referred to as “green cards”) is monitored by the U.S. Department of State, which publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin, available at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html. The PERM process covers positions under the EB-2 and EB-3 quota categories. A list of the 5 employment-based categories follows below:
- EB-1: extraordinary ability, outstanding researcher, multinational managers
- EB-2: LC – MS (or BS + 5 yrs. of progressive exp), National Interest Waiver
- EB-3: LC – BS (or at least 2 yrs exp)
- Schedule A – medical personnel; scientists and artists (must show exceptional ability through widespread acclaim and international recognition)
- EB-4: religious workers
- EB-5: immigrant investors
What Is A Priority Date?
A priority date is the date that a PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor. The priority date for processes that do not require a PERM approval is established when the I-140 petition is filed with USCIS. This priority date establishes the beneficiary’s place in the green card quota line, as regulated by the Visa Bulletin. The priority date must be “current” before an I-485 application can be filed, and also for an I-485 application to be approved. Sometimes after filing, a priority date will “retrogress” and become backlogged. When that happens, the I-485 must remain pending until the priority date becomes current again.
Does The PERM Application Belong To The Employer Or The Employee?
Rules of confidentiality, legal limitations based on the applicable laws and interpretive regulations, and required administrative filing procedures for properly preparing the case to provide it with its best possible chance for approval require that:
STEP 1: PERM labor certification – Employer is the client. The employer must control issues regarding the case minimum requirements, matters of salary, career track for future promotion.
STEP 2: I-140 immigrant petition – Employer is the client. This step involves issues regarding company financials, and possibly transfer or reorganization matters.
STEP 3: I-485 adjustment of status – Employee is the client. This step involves matters personal to the employee including – a health check, criminal background check, and issues regarding spouse and children.
What Are PERM Pre-Filing Steps?
The pre-filing steps include:
- Confirming the case objective minimum requirements with the employer;
- Confirming the employee’s personal qualifications to confirm that the employer has not listed a requirement which the employee does not meet;
- Obtaining a wage determination from the DOL to confirm the required salary number applicable to the case;
- Completing the required recruitment steps to confirm that an able, available, qualified, or willing U.S. worker could not be found;
- Filing the application with the DOL.
For more information on PERM Labor Certification, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (619) 234-8875 today.
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