Program Electronic Review Management (PERM)
On March 28, 2005, the Department of Labor implemented the new PERM program (Program Electronic Review Management) for labor certification filings. This is the latest way of filing labor certifications, eliminating the two previous methods: (1) Reduction in Recruitment (RIR) and (2) the “traditional,” i.e., Department of Labor (DOL) monitored system. PERM requires that an employer perform specific recruitment for an open position prior to filing a labor certification application, either electronically or by mail, with the national PERM processing centers in Atlanta.
PERM was introduced as a more cost effective and faster way for DOL to adjudicate labor certifications. In exchange for the promised faster processing, DOL changed the requirements for labor certifications, some of which require employers to implement new systems in order to utilize PERM.
PERM is generally the first step in a three step process toward securing lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. The process requires employer sponsorship and all fees related to the PERM process must be paid by the employer and may not be subsequently reimbursed by the employee. The employer is required to undertake extensive recruitment prior to submission of the application to DOL. This recruitment includes three mandatory recruitment methods include:
1. Two print advertisements run on a Sunday in a paper of general circulation in the area of intended employment (may be consecutive Sundays). The company may also opt for a professional journal, but this will likely result in resumes from across the country. The ads must contain the employer's name, the geographic location of the position, and a brief description of the job/title. Including a wage is optional, and generally not recommended.
2. Placement of a job bank order for a 30-day period.
3. Placement of an internal job posting for 10 consecutive days.
In addition to the three mandatory recruitment methods, a company must show recruitment in at least 3 of the following:
a. Job Fair participation
b. Job search web site (i.e. Monster, Career Builder, etc.)
c. Internal Employee Referral Program (must include incentives for referral)
d. Advertisement in a local or ethnic newspaper
e. On-Campus recruiting
f. Advertisement in a trade or professional journal
g. Job listing with private employment firm
h. Job listing with campus placement office
i. Radio or TV ads
Once recruitment is placed, any applicant resumes must be reviewed and annotated with job related reasons for rejection. The employer should maintain a spreadsheet indicating the number of applicants, the source of the resume, and the results of the resume review and/or interview process.
PERM requires an employer to offer a wage for the position that is at least 100% of the prevailing wage determination issued by the DOL for the occupation in the area of intended employment. DOL will allow only one rebuttal to a wage determination that comes in higher than the wage offered. Note that a case may be prepared for an offer of future employment reflecting a salary that will be paid at the time the individual is promoted into the new role (NOTE: Promotion must occur prior to green card approval if the PERM is filed and approved for the higher level position).
Originally, DOL anticipated adjudicating labor certification applications filed under PERM within 45 to 60 days. However, due to the volume of cases submitted to the agency, processing time is approximately 8 to 10 months for non-audited cases. DOL has the discretion to audit a case to determine if recruitment and other compliance points are in place, which would cause a delay in the 8 to 10 month processing time. DOL can request an audit either randomly or for cause. Audits may delay case processing from 10 to 12 months.