Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used to process labor certifications, which is the first step certain foreign nationals must take in order to obtain an employment based immigrant visa (green card).
Labor certification is a prerequisite when an employee seeks to become a legal Permanent Resident of the U.S. through employment. The U.S. Department of Labor makes a determination, based on the employer’s application, on whether or not there are U.S.citizens or green card holders available to perform the job duties of the employment offered to the foreign applicant. If the Labor Department determines that there are no citizens or legal permanent residents able, qualified and willing to accept the job offered at the prevailing wage for this occupation, who would otherwise have priority, then the employer is permitted to file a permanent resident (green card) application for the prospective employee. Prior to filing the application, the employer must obtain a PERM Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor. The reason behind this is that the employer must pay the employee the “prevailing wage” for the job offered, and not adversely affect the working conditions and wages of U.S.workers. The application is filed using form ETA 9141. In addition, the employer must conduct recruitment of U.S.workers for the job offered, by placing a job order with the local State Department of Labor Job Bank for a period of 30 days, placing an advertisement for the job offered in a newspaper of general circulation on two different Sundays, posting an in-house notice of the job offered for a period of 10 consecutive business days, posting the job on the employer’s website and advertising the job at job fairs.
The employer must interview U.S.worker applicants who have met the minimum requirements for the job. If the employer rejects U.S.workers who meet the minimum requirements, he must document the reasons in his recruitment report. He must have a lawful, job-related reason for rejecting such an applicant, and include the reasons in the recruitment report.
This recruitment must be performed during 180 days prior to filing the labor certification application, but also must be completed 30 days before filing the application.
The application, with all supporting documents, is filed either electronically or by mail with the US. Department of Labor on Form ETA 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification. The employer is required to retain all supporting documentation for five years from the date of filing the application.