News & Insights

PERM Processing Times

The PERM also known as the Labor certification is the first step in the employment-based green card process.

The PERM process starts with the employer conducting a recruitment campaign.  Alongside this it is also necessary for the employer to submit a request for the prevailing wage from the Department of Labor (DOL).  As part of the PERM and I-140 process the employer must agree to pay the prevailing wage and must demonstrate the financial ability to pay this.

According to the DOL’s FLAG website DOL is processing wage determinations from November 2021 as a of 05/31/2022.  This means that wage determinations are taking 6-7 months to be issued.  This is consistent with what we are seeing as a firm.

Dol recently updated its PERM processing times and these are as follows:

  • PERM processing without an audit- 191 days (approx. 6.5 months)
  • PERM processing with an audit-278 days (approx. 9 months).

To stay up to date on PERM processing times you can check the DOL’s FLAG website at:

https://flag.dol.gov/processingtimes

Based on the above processing times the best-case scenario for PERM approval is about 12-13 months.  Worst case scenario is 16-18 months.

Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the PERM processing and cases are generally selected at random for Audit.  However, certain answers to questions on the PERM (Form ETA 9089) may automatically trigger an audit.

For example, there is a question on the first page of the PERM which asks whether the PERM beneficiary has an ownership interest in the company filing or a family relationship with the owners, stockholders etc.   If this question is answered yes, it is almost guaranteed that the case will be audited.

The PERM process requires the employer to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers before filing the PERM for the beneficiary.  If the beneficiary is related to the owner of the company or has an ownership interest DOL will audit the file to ensure that there is a bona-fide job opportunity.  The larger the ownership interest or the closer the family bond the less chance you will have of getting the PERM approved.

Filing a PERM where the minimum requirements include a degree, but no work experience could also trigger an audit or where the PERM lists a foreign language requirement.

PERM audits can be very frustrating and can increase the processing time and the also chance of a denial.  It is therefore crucial that audits are responded to as soon as possible and that all required information/documentation is provided to DOL.

For questions regarding the above please contact PLG Partner, Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com.

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