Overview of the Labor Certification Process

Permanent labor certification allows employers in the US to hire non-US workers on a permanent basis for a US job. The certification process is overseen by the Department of Labor (DOL). The idea behind the permanent labor certification process is that it ensures that US workers are not passed over for jobs. This is because during the permanent labor certification process employers must prove, among other things, that there are no willing and able US workers to fill the job position. In 2005, a new permanent labor certification process was created, known as the permanent labor certification program (PERM). The PERM labor process was designed to be entirely electronic and more efficient than the old process. However, due to quotas on the number of visas that can be issued under the PERM labor process, PERM continues to create backlogs.

In order to apply for the PERM labor process, an employer must have a genuine, permanent, full-time job position that has been made available to US employees and job seekers. The employer must also show that the job has standard requirements for that type of job, and has not been altered to make only foreign workers qualified. The employer must also be able to show that the company has enough money to hire a new employee and will be paying the prevailing or standard wage (at minimum) for the job position.

If an employer meets all of these requirements and wishes to apply for the PERM labor process, he or she must file ETA Form 9089 (Application for Permanent Employment Certification). This form will describe the job position in detail as well as the qualifications of the foreign worker for the position. ETA Form 9089 can be filed by mail but must include the signatures of the preparer of the form, the employer, and the worker. If ETA Form 9089 is filed online, the signatures will be offered later. ETA Form 9089 must also include the prevailing wage for the position offered, and this must be obtained from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC). Most employers filing ETA Form 9089 must also prove that they have sought or recruited US workers for the position and were not successful. If US workers have applied but were found not qualified for the job position, the employer must submit details of this. In some cases, a Certifying Officer may ask the employer to submit the resumes of US job applicants who were rejected for the job. Therefore, when applying for the PERM labor process, it is important for the employer to keep any information related to the job recruitment for the job position.

In some cases, an employer apply for the PERM labor process will be audited or will be required to submit additional information. As well, after filing ETA Form 9089, the employer is mandated to keep copies of all supporting documents related to the application for five years.