The permanent labor certification process, known as PERM, is the most common employment-based way to obtain permanent residency status (a.k.a. a “Green Card”) in the United States. It is intended to ensure that employers do not seek to employ a foreign national when qualified U.S. workers are ready, willing, able and available to fill the position. In 200 combined years of legal experience, the lawyers of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC have helped many clients get labor certifications. With offices in Cleveland, New York City, Columbus, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Raleigh, we assist companies and individuals in Ohio, New York, California, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Minneapolis, Tennessee, and throughout the nation.
The PERM / Labor Certification Process
PERM / labor certification is difficult, and the process will often last around 18 months. The Department of Labor (DOL) spends much of that time trying to locate any U.S. workers who meet the employer’s minimum requirements regarding education, experience, and training for the position. If the DOL finds a qualifying U.S. citizen, the employer may not request permanent resident status for the alien worker.
The Department of Labor (DOL), however, will not compel the employer to hire such a worker if one is located, as the process is only intended to be a testing of the relevant labor market.
As such, employers may not discourage U.S. workers from applying for the job, tell them that the position is already filled by a foreign national or tell them that recruitment has been undertaken solely for PERM / labor certification purposes.
You Must Make Strict Minimum Requirements for the Position
Usually, when creating a list of job requirements for a position, an employer will make out loose guidelines to allow for a large pool of potential applicants. But this is unwise if you want to hire a foreign national; the DOL will easily find U.S. job applicants who meet the minimum requirements and thus reject the foreign labor certification.
It is important for an employer to make out strict job requirements. However, if the requirements seem too strict, the DOL might cry foul. The lawyers of Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LPA have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you reach a delicate balance.
Some Can Skip Labor Certification
There are a few occupations that are in such urgent demand in the United States that qualified people can skip the perm / labor certification process entirely. One example is registered nurses and physical therapists, who simply must have nursing licensing in another country, have a job offer, and fill out Schedule A to be able to work in the United States.
At Margaret W. Wong & Associates, our lawyers have fought hard for many clients in PERM / labor certification issues. One client wanted a green card through labor certification, which often takes 2-3 years for the DOL to review. By keeping to our philosophy of efficient and thorough service, we managed to get the process completed in 10 months. See our Labor Certification Success Stories for other examples.