How to Obtain an PERM Labor Certification for Foreign Employee?
For most employment based immigration visa categories (EB-2, EB-3) the employer has to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor before submitting the petition for the sponsorship of the foreign employee for permanent residence. If you are an employer or business owner that wants to petition for a employment based sponsorship visa or EB-2 or EB-3 visa contact our Los Angeles immigration attorney.
The labor certification certifies two things:
- That qualified U.S. employees cannot be found in the area of intended employment who are available, willing and able to fill the position being offered to the foreign national; and
- That employing foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
The overall labor certification process includes three steps:
- Obtaining the prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor;
- Conducting the pre-filing recruitment; and
- Filing the actual application for labor certification.
Prevailing Wage Determination
A U.S. employer, willing to sponsor a foreign employee for permanent residence, has to pay the prevailing wage in the area of intended employment. For that purpose, the U.S. employer has to obtain the prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor. Employers obtain the prevailing wage determination by submitting an online application which includes the job description, the place of employment, and information about the employer.
After obtaining the prevailing wage, the employer must conduct the pre-filing recruitment in order to find qualified and available U.S. workers. First of all, the employer must place two advertisements on two different Sundays in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment. In addition, employers, willing to hire for professional positions, must conduct three additional recruitment steps. The additional recruitment steps may include placing advertisements on employer’s website or job search websites, on campus recruitment, job fairs, employee referral programs, radio and television advertisements. Employers must also place a job order with the state workforce agency serving the area of intended employment.
Employers must carefully consider all applicants who respond to the employer’s recruitment steps. Employers must contact all applicants who appear to meet the minimum requirements. Job applicants can be rejected only for lawful and job-related reasons. A detailed recruitment report, explaining why each job applicant was rejected, shall be prepared.
Labor Certification Application
Once the employer has conducted all the required pre-filing recruitment steps, it can file the labor certification application. Labor certification applications are generally filed through the PERM online system, a dedicated Department of Labor website. The application includes information about the offered position, information about the employer and the foreign employee, and information about the pre-filing recruitment steps. The employer cannot attach any documents with the application, however, it might have to send additional documents in support of the application if the case is selected for audit. If the employer gets the labor certification it can file the immigrant petition to sponsor the foreign employer for permanent residence.
Generally, getting the labor certification is the most difficult part in the process of sponsoring a foreign employee for permanent residence. If the employer passes this hurdle the immigrant petition for alien worker is usually approved without complications.
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