PERM, which is Program Electronic Review Management, is used to obtain a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor. Labor certifications are done before you seek employment-based green cards. When applying for your green card, your employer will initiate the process on your behalf. Some job priorities will enable you to obtain PERM easily. They include licensed professionals like attorneys and architects, advanced degrees, and professional engineering and IT jobs. Unskilled jobs also require you to undergo the perm process through the legal steps.

If you are experiencing challenges with the PERM filing process to get to California, seek help from experienced attorneys at California Immigration Attorney. We have experience in immigration laws and know the entire requirement to increase the chances of making the PERM application process successful.

Requirements for Recruitment

There is a minimum requirement you and your employer should meet for your PERM labor certification to be approved. Before your green card is approved, your employer must prove that:

  • The job opportunity is for a good-faith position
  • He or she will hire you permanently
  • The job position meets the minimum requirements in terms of wages
  • The job position does not affect the environment and the working conditions of the United States citizens
  • No worker in the United States can fill the position that your employer wants you to fill

Wage Determination for the Employee

For the PERM filing process to go through, your employer must determine your wage as a labor department requirement. The Department of Labor will ask for the prevailing wage electronically, and you have to access ways to survey the data related to wages for a similar position in California.

The National Prevailing Wage and Center (NPWC) determines the wage for all the positions filled by different professionals. After your employer sends the prevailing wage, the national prevailing wage and center will respond with the wage level and information about the wage for a similar position in your business's same geographic location. After the wage is determined, your employer must promise that they will pay you the same wage or higher for the position.

When determining the foreign citizen's prevailing wage, your employer should ensure that you did not displace a qualified California citizen.

Types of Green Cards Available

You can obtain different types of green cards in California. The cards are majorly obtained in two ways, through the family members and the employers.

  • Green card through family members — Your family members and lawful permanent residents can file a petition to bring you to California and live with you permanently. The main reason why there is a family-based green card is to promote family unification.
  • Green cards through the employer — An employment-based petition is another way you can move to California. The process starts with the employer filing the certification process with the Department of Labor. There are the minimum requirements that the employer must fulfill for the process to be successful.

Who Initiates the PERM Certification Process?

Employees usually initiate the PERM process because they want to get their green cards. However, your employer should be the one to initiate the process because the process requires the cooperation and consent of the employer. The process requires that you involve an attorney to help you through the complex process. The attorney will help determine the prevailing wage that is key information that you must submit to the Department of Labor.

Labor Certification Process

The employment-based green card application process starts with labor certification for applicants. To initiate the process, your employer needs to get a labor certification issued by the Department of labor. Labor certification is usually a document that allows your employer to file a petition on your behalf. Your employer must prove that there was no qualified U.S citizen to fill the position intended for you. Before your employer initiates the PERM application process, he or she will have to rigorously look for a person to fill the domestic market position. They will do so by advertising for the position, carrying out interviews, screening procedures, and completing any other formality related to the recruitment process.

If your employer is not successful, they will apply to show that the search for a qualified person for the vacant position was not successful. The application will be made to the Department of Labor. In the application, your employer will ask the department to file a petition on your behalf. 

Steps for Filing a Labor Certification Petition

You and your employer must follow steps to enable you to fill vacant positions in California. The process starts with the registration.

PERM registration is done online by your employer. The online registration requires that the employer sets their accounts and profile. When the employer completes the information required online, it will be easier for you to:

  • Update your information online
  • Track any information submitted about labor certification application
  • Pre-populate your general information online
  • Withdraw any application for the labor certification that is not needed
  • Add new users to your account
  • Send emails to others detailing the labor certification application

Determining the Minimum Requirements for the Position

For you to fill the PERM position, your employer should determine the vacant position's minimum qualifications. The employer will send a copy of the Department of Labor requirement to assess whether the qualifications are reasonable and if there is a likelihood that a Californian citizen will fill the vacancy.

Determination of Prevailing Wage

Before your employer applies, he or she should request the determination of the prevailing wage from the State Workforce Agency. He or she is supposed to attach all the information that you require for your job. The information to be attached to the employer's application include the wage tracking number, prevailing wage, wage source, level of skill required, the title of the occupation, the date of determination, and the expiry date.

Application Process

Your employer will file the labor certification petition with the state Workforce Agency or the state Employment Security Agency (SESA). Your employer will fill an application form that gives a detailed view of the vacant position. He or she will describe the job profile, type of qualifications required from the applicant, training, educational qualification, and prior experience, the applicant should have to qualify for the position.

Signature Requirement

If you apply by mail, it should contain your signature, that of your employer, and for the person who prepared it. The signatures should be sent before your application is taken to the processing center.

Review Process

The State Employment Security Agency (SESA) will stamp the application and review your employers' request for foreign professionals. It will recommend if there is any modification that needs to be made. After proper assessment, SESA will get back to your employer, give their feedback on whether the job meets the minimum qualifications, and if the wages set for your position meets the prevailing wage standard.

Recruitment Campaign

With supervision from SESA, your employer will begin the recruitment campaign. He or she will place the advertisement for the vacant position in publications and newspapers, with the details of qualifications. You and other applicants who apply and meet the conditions for the position will be interviewed.

Submission of Results

After the interviews have been conducted, your employer will report to SESA on the recruitment campaign. He or she must prove that the advertisement was done in the newspaper where many applicants would access and should give reasons why he or she rejected the applicants, if any, for the positioners will then send all the reports from your employer to the Department of Labor for further discussion. The Department of Labor will check the reason why the applicants were rejected. The Department of Labor is usually concerned with the unemployment of California citizens. If a thorough check for the requirement is done and finds out that there is a citizen who meets the minimum qualifications, he or she will be considered for the position before it is offered to you (an Alien).

Final Decision Making

If the Department of Labor confirms that no California citizen qualifies for the position, it will approve your employer’s labor certification application. Some instances can make the Department of Labor deny your employer the approval for labor certification. If it finds out that California's recruitment process was not fair and qualified applicants in the United States were rejected without an objective reason. There are outcomes that your employer should expect from the Department of labor; the labor certification is certified without any supervised recruitment or audit. The labor certification can be audited hence causing a delay in approval. Other outcomes are that the application may be supervised, and a new recruitment process is done. This time by the Department of labor and your employer’s application for PERM may be denied. However, he or she can appeal the decision if it is denied.

Records Retention

The supporting documents that your employer used for the application of permanent employment certification should be retained for five years. The document containing the prevailing wage is one of the crucial documents that your employer is expected to retain for five years since applying.

Depending on the state that you come from, the labor certification process may take time. The time for approval also depends on the total number of pending cases and the fact that each state has a waiting period. The average time taken to have the application for labor certification approved is six months to 3 years.

Reduction in the Recruitment Process

Reduction-in-Recruitment (RIR) Process is a tracking version for the conventional labor certification process. When your employer is submitting the application form for the vacant position to the SESA, they should request the RIR process. In RIR, your employer must provide a document that proves his or her effortless search for a qualified California citizen for the last six months. Your employer should also give a pattern of how the recruitment process was in the domestic market and the mode of advertisements for the vacant position.

The minimum advertisement requirement is that your employer should put the advertisement in the newspapers, participate in job fairs, put it on the internet, and any other place where most of the public will access the information.

When is PERM Needed?

Not all petitions for employment need the PERM certification process. There are special categories of immigrants who need the certification. PERM is a time-consuming, difficult, and costly process. Therefore, your employer should ensure that you are eligible for perm before proceeding with the green card application. The categories of immigrants who need perm certification before they are issued an immigrant visa are considered third preference petitioners for employment-based immigration. The category that doesn’t require PERM certification are:

  • Waiver petitions for National interest
  • Family-based petitions
  • Investors, since they are aimed at contributing to the economy of California
  • Professional petitions and outstanding researchers
  • Special immigrants like religious workers

After the PERM application goes through successfully, there are the steps followed in processing the visa. They are:

Visa Petitioning

After the labor certification approval, your employer will file a petition that may take time to adjudicate. The visa petition requires that your employer give documentation to prove that he or she can pay you the minimum wage in addition to fulfilling your other requirements. The process may also be intervened by the government, where your employer will be requested to give evidence. Due to all the processes followed, the visa petition process may take some time.

Adjustments of Status Application

An adjustment of the status application will be filed when your priority date is due. Therefore, the status will be adjusted when the PERM labor certification was filed or when the petition was filed. Depending on your preferred category and your country of birth, the priority dates may take some time to become current. When your employer files your work permit, you and your spouse and children can make applications simultaneously.

Occupations with Special Considerations

There are occupations that the Department of Labor has determined there are no Californian workers with the skills required to fill the positions, if any, due to lack of the necessary qualification. Such occupations do not have many discussions by the Department, and aliens' employment does not affect the wage and the working conditions of the United States workers. The occupations include:

  • Physical therapists — If you have the necessary skills and meet the minimum qualifications required for the job, it will be easier to move to California to fill the position.
  • Professional nurses — If you have passed the National Council Examination for the registered Nurses, you will not have restrictions on moving to California to fill a vacant position.
  • Art and science professionals — If you possess the necessary skills in arts and science, especially as a university and college teacher, you will not have restrictions to enter into the U.S to work.

Reasons Why People Immigrate to California in the United States

You can move to California on a temporary or permanent basis for different reasons or purposes. You can move for employment purposes or even to live with your family. Some reasons why people immigrate are:

  • To look for better opportunities to work. Many people move to California for job purposes. Many are accepted, and many are rejected. There is always another chance to try filling the application after your first application has been declined.
  • For better living conditions. California in the United States is well-known for entertainment, nightlife, technology, and many other good things that everyone would like. It is a place that people dream of living, especially in big and famous towns. In terms of better living conditions, the Californian government has a program where poor people get help.
  • To live with spouses and families. If you moved to California and left your family and children in the home country, they too can have a chance to move to the United States to be with you. It may also happen that you get married to a U.S citizen while in your home country. In that case, you can apply for a family-based immigration visa to move to your spouse.
  • To escape trouble in home countries. Chaos will make people migrate to look for peace. If you move to the United States because your home country is habitable, you can apply to get a permanent residency after having an attorney to help you through the process.
  • To get a better education. The United States has some educational institutions that are the most prestigious globally. Many people move to the United States to get their top degrees in the State universities and then go back to their home country to look for jobs. If you are lucky enough, you may get employment in the United States, especially if you have studied the courses considered to have few qualified workers.

Types of Immigration

The types of immigration that you may apply to get to the United States include:

Employment-Based Immigration

If you have the specialized skills required to fill a California position, you can apply for a visa. An employment-based immigration visa also applies if you want to move to California for investment purposes. Employment-based immigration can be permanent or temporary, depending on the job you are doing.

Permanent Immigration

The numbers of visas available for people who apply for permanent residency in the United States are limited, especially for employment purposes. The reason being, before a vacant position is filled by an alien, there is a thorough search for any California citizen who can qualify for the position. If you are lucky to be one of the specialists with the skills required for a specific job, there may be no restrictions for your visa application. You need to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve your visa. For a permanent visa application, you must prove that you are one of the members holding an advanced degree and a person of exceptional skills required in California. It would be best to show you that you are an outstanding professional in multinational executives, research, or management. Your skills will be needed to fill a position in California.

Temporary Immigration

Temporary immigration visas for job purposes will depend on the duration you have been called upon to complete some California work. You will be admitted to California for a specified period, and within that period, you will be required to work on the specific work that brought you to California. Therefore, you do not have the freedom to keep changing your job as you wish.

When your temporary visa expires, you will be required to go back to your home country, except in a few instances where your employer may sponsor your job. The exemption will only depend on the type of job you are doing and anyone In California who can fill the position. If the contract takes longer to complete, you can have your family or your spouse apply for a visa to come and stay with you during the period that you will be in the U.S.

Immigration by the Refugees

There are threatening situations that will make people move from their home country to California. For example, some countries are known for war at all times. You find that people move out of the country to look for peace in other countries. California in the United States is one of the countries that people prefer to move to because they will get the help they need in terms of their welfare.

Hindrance to PERM Labor Certification

You may apply for labor certification, but the application is not approved. Many reasons can make your application fail. For example, criminal history is one reason that can make your application fail. Significant misdemeanor crimes like burglary can affect your immigration status. Suppose you know that you have a record that can affect your application. In that case, you must contact an attorney to prove to the United States citizenship and immigration services that your actions will not affect your stay in California.

Find a Labor Certification Immigration Attorney Near Me

If you want to increase your chances of having the labor certification approved by the Department of Labor, do not go through the process independently. We at California Immigration Attorney will help you through the process. We will help your employer secure a green card on your behalf and represent you in any other issue concerning your immigration visa. Feel free to reach us at 424-789-8809 and learn more about our practice areas in immigration.