In the coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue a proposed rule announcing a range of changes to the PERM Labor Certification program.
PERM is a requirement of the green card application process. It mandates that some petitioners test the labor market to ensure no willing and able U.S. citizens are available to assume the role the green card holder would fill. Currently, PERM is required of the EB-2 Advanced Workers and EB-3 Skilled or Other Worker categories.
Here is what’s at stake:
Most likely, the DOL will attach a fee to Form ETA 9089, the Application for Permanent Employment Certification. The increased funds would allow the DOL to hire more people to review PERM petitions, making the process quicker. Right now, it takes about two to three months for a prevailing wage request to be processed, and about six to eight months for an ETA 9089.
The DOL will use feedback generated from the proposed rule to survey whether or not it should add new occupations to Schedule A, the list of PERM-exempt occupations. For example, there is a widely documented shortage of nurses in the United States. As a result, employers aren’t required to complete the PERM process when sponsoring a foreign nurse for permanent residency. Additional Schedule A occupations include individuals with exceptional ability in science or arts and physical therapists.
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