Basics of perm labor certification

The Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor runs the permanent labor certification program, also referred to as PERM. The purpose of the PERM program is to ensure that U.S. citizens are not passed over in favor of foreign nationals when it comes to employment opportunities. For New Jersey employers who want to hire a foreign citizen to work in the country, a knowledge of the PERM program can help to avoid unnecessary problems and make the immigration process go more smoothly.


Employers who want to hire non-U.S. citizens are first required to secure a PERM labor certification. This step is preliminary even to submitting the visa petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After the certification is secured, then the employer can file Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, with USCIS.


An employer who is seeking a PERM certification for immigration must attest, among other things, that the job was open to citizen workers, that the wages for the position are at least equal to the prevailing wages in the area, that the employer will put the non-citizen worker on the payroll before or immediately upon arrival in the country and that the job is a permanent, full-time job. The employer must file Form 9089 with the Employment and Training Administration. All documentation for the Form 9089 should be kept on file for at least 5 years after filing.


The ETA Form 9089 does not have a filing fee. The USCIS Form I-140 filing fee is $700. The employer will also have to pay to place at least 2 print advertisements related to the position and will have legal fees if they are hiring a lawyer to do the work. As of November 2021, the average time for PERM application processing was 158 days. The costs and processing times for a PERM application vary on a case-by-case basis.

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