Labor certification is the first step on the road to a green card through employment sponsorship. For those unsure of what labor certification specifically means, it is the process created by the U.S. Department of Labor to "protect U.S. workers and the U.S. labor market by ensuring that foreign workers seeking immigrant visa classifications are not displacing equally qualified U.S. workers."
At one time, this process took years, as the Department of Labor would provide instructions to the employer on how to recruit for the position and searching for U.S. applicants. In 1998, a streamlined approach was implemented wherein the employer would recruit first and then file evidence about a lack of minimally qualified U.S. workers afterwards. Then in 2005, PERM was introduced.
PERM, which stands for Program Electronic Review Management, is the completely electronic version of labor certification, designed to further speed up the process, which can now be measured in months rather than years. But despite this speedier process, PERM still requires a lot of effort.
First, the employer must show that the position to be filled is of a professional or "skilled" nature. After that, the employer must demonstrate the unavailability of qualified U.S. workers with documented evidence that recruitment efforts were made prior to filing for labor certification. These efforts include print ads in at least two Sunday editions of a major newspaper, internet job postings, work orders placed with the state's workforce agency or department of labor, and participation in recruitment efforts standard to the industry (like job fairs).
After that, U.S. workers must be allowed an additional 30 days to respond to these efforts, making the recruitment period at least 60 days. Once that is done, the employer must create a final report listing who applied, the number of those that were qualified, and the number that were interviewed, and the ultimate result that demonstrates the justification for labor certification.
All in all, this is the labor-intensive first step towards permanent residency, a process which in itself is no easy feat, but you can take heart in knowing that just fifteen years ago, it was much worse.
Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, LLC has filed and secured hundreds of PERM approvals since the introduction of the system in 2005. Contact us so we can provide you with a strategy on how to get your green card faster.