PERM Processing Times Now Exceed 1 YearPERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management. It’s also termed ETA Form 9089, which basically refers to a process through which an employer can hire a foreign national permanently in the U.S. for a specialty occupation.

In other words, it’s one of the most crucial methods that an employer may sponsor a foreign worker in pursuit of a green card. In this article, you’ll be informed about the recent processing time of PERM and associated components necessary for employment-based immigration in the U.S.

It’s to be noted that the processing times for both PERM applications and PWD (Prevailing Wage Determination) requests have been updated by the Department of Labor (DOL) as of January 31, 2024. Several factors influence the PERM processing times including the ways of its submission.

Before knowing the PERM processing time, you must first understand the steps involved in PERM process:

  1. A detailed note (presented by the employer) on the duties and basic requirements for the position including the experience, education, and skills needed to perform the assigned/demanded roles.
  2. Filing of PWD request (by the employer) to determine the salary influenced factors such as job position, key requirements, location, and more.
  3. Abiding by the comprehensive recruitment process (including the posting of advertisements, and interviews of potential U.S. workers) to guarantee that the foreign national is employed (through a green card) to fulfill the gap traced in the domestic workers of the U.S.
  4. Filing Form ETA 9089 with the DOL for applying the PERM.

Due to a typo on the FLAG website, you’ll find that the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) has been presently processing PWDs filed in July 2024. Nothing to worry! They meant July 2023 which, in fact, shows around seven months to process. Notably, the DOL is processing non-OES PWD requests (along with the ones based on private wage surveys) submitted in February 2023. The NPWC has also received redetermination requests submitted in June 2023 and these are also processed. This is about PWDS.

Next comes the PERM processing times. Notably, the applications filed in January 2023 or before, which are as old as over one year (393 days, to be precise), are worked upon by the DOL. Also, the PERM applications (filed in December 2022) audits are processed within the time frame of 480 days. If any PERM application undergoes an audit, you may expect that it’ll be time-consuming. An addition of 120 days stretches the processing time including the adjudication, leaving you with around 16 months right from the initial filing application. Besides, the DOL is processing the reconsideration requests for PERM applications filed in March 2023.

The processing time for PERM application (not undergoing audits) is similar to the average processing time cited by the DOL.

In recent years, the processing times for PERM applications and PWDs have increased. What’s more miserable is that the officials from the DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) have indicated that there aren’t any signs of improvement. At the Practising Law Institute’s annual immigration law conference held on November 28, 2023, the DOL provided updates on the status of PERM processing. The following data reveals the past and present status, as of September 23, 2023:

  • There were approximately 71,000 pending cases in the former PERM system
  • 79,376 pending cases in the current FLAG system, which began handling all PERM submissions on June 1st.

The DOL attributed meagre processing times to a number of factors such as increased workload, inadequate funding, and inflation. Additionally, the DOL reported that resources from the PERM program are being reallocated to the H-2A and H-2B programs to meet regulatory deadlines. Moreover, the introduction of a new ETA Form 9089 and filing system in 2023 by the DOL leads to further delays. Such introduction wasn’t seamless, and there are still some unclear sides of it.

There’s also a noticeable rise in Requests for Further Information (RFI) on PWDs which is issued when the DOL requires more information about the job to appropriately assign a wage determination. Issuing a frivolous RFIs is problematic as it adds 3 weeks to the wage determination process after the employer’s RFI response.

The minimum time limit of 7 days provided by the DOL to employers or their legal representatives to respond to RFIs is another chief concern. This puts significant pressure on employers, especially when faced with multiple RFIs. In addition to this, individuals who qualify may explore alternative options such as the EB-1A for Extraordinary Ability and the National Interest Waiver, which bypass the PERM labor certification process and do not require a job offer. Such options can be beneficial for those who have extraordinary abilities in their field or have a significant impact on the U.S. national interest.

Conclusion

These long processing times for both prevailing wage determinations and PERM applications present significant challenges for employers and foreign workers. Both parties must stay informed about these processing times to plan. Employers should begin the employment-based green card process at the earliest possible to avoid issues with temporary work visa status and the ability of foreign workers to continue working in the U.S.

It’s important to keep in mind that the green card application process can be complex and time-consuming. Therefore, one must consult with an immigration attorney who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the process. With a thorough understanding of the process and a solid plan in place, employers and foreign workers can better navigate the challenges of obtaining an employment-based green card in the U.S.

At h1bvisajobs.com, we understand the significant challenges that PERM processing delays pose to businesses and their employees. We are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive guidance through the complexities of the PERM labor certification process, especially during these trying times of extended processing times. Our dedication to our clients extends beyond mere assistance, and we strive to provide them with the support and resources they need to overcome the challenges of the PERM labor certification process. For more information about our lawsuit and how we can assist you in navigating the complexities of the PERM process, please visit our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to check PERM Status?

To check the status of your PERM application, you can visit the Department of Labor’s website and use the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center’s (FLCDataCenter) PERM case status search tool. To use the tool, you will need to enter your PERM case number, which can be found on your PERM application or receipt notice.

Once you’ve entered your case number, you’ll be able to view the current status of your PERM application. The status may include information such as the date the application was received, whether further information is required and whether the application has been certified or denied.

It’s noteworthy that processing times can vary and may be subject to delay, so it’s advisable to check the status of your application regularly and plan accordingly. If you’ve any concerns or questions about your PERM application, you may contact the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) or the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) for assistance.

2. What are the meanings of PERM status?

The PERM application status can have different meanings depending on the stage of the application process. Here are some of the common PERM status meanings:

  1. In Progress: This means that your PERM application is currently being processed by the Department of Labor.
  2. Audit Review: This status means that the DOL has selected your application for an audit and is reviewing it for compliance with regulations and requirements.
  3. Reconsideration: This status means that the DOL has received a request for reconsideration of a denied PERM application and is reviewing it again.
  4. Certified: This status means that your PERM application has been approved by the DOL and certified. This is a positive outcome, and it means that you can proceed to the next step in the green card application process.
  5. Denied: This status means that your PERM application has been denied by the DOL. This could be due to various reasons such as incomplete or inaccurate information, or failure to meet requirements and regulations.

3. Who processes the PERM?

The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) processes the PERM applications.

How does the DOL determine the PERM prevailing wage?

The Department of Labor (DOL) determines the prevailing wage for a particular occupation and geographic location based on the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The DOL uses four levels of wages to determine the prevailing wage for a specific occupation in a specific geographic area.

The wage level is determined by the job requirements, experience, education, and skills needed for the position. The employer must pay a wage that is at least equal to the prevailing wage for the occupation and location listed on the PERM application.

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