A permanent labor certification is a document issued by the US Department of Labor (DOL) that allows a US employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States.

Below, we’ll help you better understand the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) program and how it can benefit you. This program is currently very useful in the workplace for both a US employer and a foreign worker.

Many of our clients are interested in this program due to the high job offer that currently exists in the United States and the low supply of available workers.

This program turns out to be very attractive for foreign workers since it can be the beginning of their path to permanent residence. But, on the other hand, it is also beneficial for US employers because of the lack of supply of available workers in the United States that fully impacts their businesses. This causes economic stagnation and frustrates their growth projects. That is why there is a good vision of this program since it opens the door to business projections and the flow of foreign workers within their organizations.


What does this program consist of?

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) created the Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM) on March 28, 2005. It is essentially the first step in the employment-based lawful permanent residence (green card) application process.


To qualify for this program you must first meet the following requirements:


  • Must have an existing permanent job offer from a US employer.
  • That there are no capable, willing, qualified and available native workers for the position.
  • The US employer is required to build and maintain an audit file with additional evidence of recruitment attempts.
  • Salaries offered are required to be equal to or greater than the prevailing wage.

The DOL processes Applications for Certification of Permanent Employment (Form ETA 9089). The date the DOL receives the labor certification application is known as the filing date and is used by USCIS and the Department of State as the priority date. After the DOL certifies the labor certification application, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) must be sent to the USCIS Service Center.

The certification is valid for 180 days and expires if it is not submitted to USCIS within this period.

It is important to note that, in most cases, before the US employer can file an immigration petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) certified labor certification application. This certification determines that there are not enough able, willing, qualified, and available US workers to accept the job opportunity in the intended area of ​​employment and that the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similar workers (US workers employed).


In order to obtain an immigrant visa (green card), the PERM requires approval.

Once the employer obtains that approval, the employer can file a green card petition on your behalf and be the start of a residence in the United States.

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What is a prevailing wage?

It is a different wage than state or federal minimum wages. This salary is the lowest that the employer can pay the beneficiary for the work that he intends to perform. Not only must the employer agree to pay the beneficiary at least this salary, but the employer must also demonstrate that it is financially capable of paying this salary.

In order to apply for a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) for a Non-Agricultural Immigration Program, the employer must complete form ETA-9141 and submit it to the National Center for Prevailing Wage. Said presentation can be made electronically through the FLAG system.


How can Vargas Law Group help me…

Foreign workers and companies have received legal advice from Vargas Law Group, since we are a family law firm dedicated to Immigration Law, and as such we are able to advise you from start to finish on your petitions.

In case you want to talk with the Immigration lawyers about your case, we have offices in Miami and Orlando and all appointments can also be made by ZOOM, a tool that brings us closer despite the distances. In addition, on our WEBSITE, you can find our contact so you can get to know us and start planning your future in the United States.

Finally, if you have been interested in this publication, we invite you to visit the main requirements that must be taken into account when wanting to work in the United States and enter the American job center search engine.


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