Pre-Certification to Filing EB2 & EB-3 Green Cards


Filing for a PERM is the first step an employer takes to sponsor a foreign worker for a green card filed in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.


Basics of Filing for a PERM

A PERM application is filed by a US employer to hire a foreign worker for a permanent position. The Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for monitoring all jobs in the US and ensuring all workers are treated fairly by their employers. One of the DOL’s mandates is to ensure that US jobs are first offered to US workers. Only if no US worker is able to do the job, or wants the job, should a foreign worker be permitted to come and live in the US permanently to fill that job.

When an employer wants to hire a foreign worker, the employer first has to reach out to the Department of Labor to have them confirm that the position cannot be filled by a US worker. Only with this PERM certification can the employer file for a green card (I-140) petition with the USCIS. The Department of Labor has a very strict “recruitment drive” that the employer must conduct to prove that they cannot find a qualified US worker to fill the open position.

The certified document has a limited period of 6 months (180 days) during which the I-140 can be filed.

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Eligibility Criteria

A US employer can file a PERM application for any EB-2 and EB-3 green card. A PERM is also filed for hiring certain seasonal workers on an H-category visa for short-term openings. The only eligibility requirement is that the sponsor be a US employer or the employer’s agent.

Foreign nationals cannot request PERM certification on their own behalf.

The Filing Process

A PERM application is filed in steps. The employer has to recruit US workers for the job. They also have to show that the wages they are offering are the same that similarly qualified US workers make.

  • Request for Prevailing Wages
    The employer files form ETA-9141 with the DOL requesting the DOL determine the wages that similar workers make in their locality.
  • Recruitment Efforts
    The employer starts to recruit locally for their position. This includes advertisements in the state’s unemployment job bank, on their own website, in the local newspaper, and in a number of other locations.
  • Cooling Off Period
    After all the advertisements are placed, the employer must wait 1 month to file for the PERM. During this time, they review all the resumes and interview any qualified candidates. If they find a local worker who can do the work, the employer cannot continue with the green card for the foreign worker.
  • Form ETA-9089
    If, after the recruitment drive, the employer cannot find a local US worker, they file form ETA-9089 to request a certification from the Department of Labor.
  • Attestation-Based
    The PERM form is filed online without including a copy of the recruitment drive. Because of this, the Department of Labor can issue audits asking for all of the recruitment information. They can also re-open a PERM application for several years after it has been approved.
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How We Can Help

Complying With the PERM Requirements

Filing a PERM application is time-consuming, onerous, and the toughest step of the 3-part green card process. The employee cannot help with any part of the PERM. There are a lot of deadlines – for different types of advertisements. The entire process must be completed within 6 months. The nitpicky details sometimes overwhelm small businesses, employers who have never filed for PERM before, and over-stretched HR managers. Attorneys are not permitted to help the employers sort through the resumes or decide who meets the requirements.

Clients unfamiliar with this process often ask us:

We already have the foreign worker working for us, why do we need to recruit for his position again?

What happens if we get a qualified US candidate? Do we need to fire our foreign employee, only to hire and spend months training a brand-new worker?

The Immigration Desk Solution

We love filing PERM applications, and after having helped thousands of employers for over 2 decades with employment-based filings, we consider ourselves experts in this field.

We believe the key to an easy, stress-free PERM filing is our team’s attention to detail, great organizational skills, and close supervision by our skilled attorneys. Our attorneys review the documents when the case comes into our office to help you draft a solid and accurate job description. We review the Department of Labor’s processing times to ensure that the file keeps moving forward. Our team of paralegals is adept at helping you place the advertisements through each deadline so the documentation is flawless, accurate, and timely. We cannot account for the Department of Labor running behind in issuing prevailing wages, but our monitoring of their processes ensures that we plan for any delay. This leads to a smooth, on-time, and on-track filing.

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