The U.S. labor certification process, also known as the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process, is a crucial step in obtaining certain employment-based immigrant visas and lawful permanent residence in the United States. Here’s an overview of the process.

Obtaining a Job Offer:  Prospective applicants for a job in the U.S. must find an employer that is willing to hire them.  The applicant must have the right education and/or work experience to be qualified for that job.

Job Requirements and Recruitment: Before an employer can petition for a foreign worker, it must demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the position. The employer must prove that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Prevailing Wage Determination: The employer must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor (“DOL”) for the specific job and location where the work will be performed. This ensures that the wage offered to the foreign worker is at least equal to the prevailing wage for similar positions in the area.

Recruitment: The employer is required to conduct recruitment efforts to test the labor market and attempt to find qualified U.S. workers for the job. This typically includes advertising the job through various channels and documenting the recruitment process.

PERM Application: Once the recruitment process is completed, the employer files a PERM application with the DOL. The application includes detailed information about the job requirements, recruitment efforts, prevailing wage determination, and other relevant documentation.

Review and Certification: The DOL reviews the PERM application to ensure that the employer has complied with all requirements and that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position. If the application meets the criteria, the DOL certifies the application, indicating that the employer can proceed with the next steps of the immigration process.

Immigrant Visa Petition: After receiving the certified PERM application, the employer can file an immigrant visa petition (Form I-140 Petition) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) on behalf of the foreign worker. The petition demonstrates that the employer has a genuine job offer and intends to employ the foreign worker on a permanent basis.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Once the petition is approved, the foreign worker can proceed with either adjusting their status to lawful permanent resident (if eligible and physically present in the U.S.) or apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing (if outside the U.S.). Upon approval of the adjustment in the U.S., or entry into the U.S. with an immigrant visa, the foreign worker becomes a lawful permanent resident and will be issued a “green card”.

Overall, the labor certification process is designed to protect the interests of U.S. workers while allowing U.S. employers to fill critical job vacancies with qualified foreign workers when no domestic candidates are available.

If you have questions about the PERM process or other U.S. visa or immigration matters, contact us at and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.


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