Permanent Labor Certification (PERM)
A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a certified labor certification application from the DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Employers must qualify as a U.S. employer with a valid Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN) and have a location within the U.S. to which U.S. workers may be referred.
Employers must have a prevailing wage determination for the job opportunity issued from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC’s) National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) prior to filing a PERM application.
PERM Labor Certification Process
The process of obtaining a labor certification from OFLC under the PERM Program involves the following basic steps:
Step 1: Identify a permanent full time job opportunity that may be filled by a foreign worker in accordance with 20 CFR 656.17, 20 CFR 656.18 or the 20 CFR 656.10 Professional Athlete clause.
The employer must determine the actual minimum requirements and job duties for the job opportunity
Job opportunities are generally categorized by occupation type which are determined by DOL regulations:
- 20 CFR 656.17 (Non-professional occupations and Professional occupations)
- 20 CFR 656.18 (Special Handling for College and University Teachers)
- 20 CFR 656.10 (Professional Athlete)
Step 2: Employer must request and receive a valid Prevailing Wage Determination from the NPWC.
See the Prevailing Wages Program page for how to file a prevailing wage request.
Step 3: Complete Pre-filing Recruitment and Notice of Filing (If applicable).
The required recruitment steps for PERM are determined by the type of occupations listed in 20 CFR 656.17 for non-professional and professional occupations and 20 CFR 656.18 for college and university teachers. All employers must also comply with 20 CFR 656.10 regarding the Notice of Filing.
Step 4: Submit a PERM Application.
Prior to submitting an online PERM application, the employer must register an account with Login.gov and create a FLAG Account. Please see the User Guide and the Video Tutorials.
As an alternative, employers are allowed to mail in their applications. Please note online submission of PERM applications and documentation will streamline the process and allow the authorized user(s) to easily access the information and assist OFLC to more efficiently process the application. Further, if certified, the authorized user can immediately obtain a copy of the PERM labor certification.