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PERM

PERM is the new Labor Certification procedure for obtaining a green card, i.e., U.S Permanent Residency, through employment.

PERM Labor Certification

PERM: Labor Certification, Green Card

  • One of the most commonly used avenues for obtaining U.S. Permanent Residency (i.e., a "green card") through employment is through the PERM Labor Certification process.
  • In general, this process requires a U.S. employer to offer a foreign national a permanent, full time, job, and to "sponsor" the individual by fiilng this type of case. 
  • The key part of this process is the recruitment process, by which the U.S. employer must undertake a recruitment process, conforming to specific requirements, in order to establish that there are no U.S. workers to fill the position which is being offered to the foreign national.  This is what is known as "Labor Certification".  (Other detailed requirements and rules apply).
  • This process is available for most types of jobs; however, there are certain jobs which do not qualify because the law deems that there are sufficient U.S. workers to fill those jobs, as a matter of law.

DOL still accepts some Reduction in Recruitment (RIR) Conversions for traditional LABOR CERTIFICATION cases.

As of October 27, 2006, the Labor Department (DOL) is still accepting conversions of traditional Labor Certification cases (non-PERM) to Reduction in Recruitment (RIR), PROVIDED that the job order has NOT yet been placed for the traditional case. If an RIR conversion is received by DOL with a postmark or express courier shipping date that is prior the date DOL places the job order, DOL will accpet the RIR conversion and cancel the job order.

Of course, petitioners may wish to consider converting the case to PERM instead.

Is there a date before which an employer or their agent must send a request for RIR conversion to the BEC?

According to the Labor Department:

There is no specific date by which an employer or their agent may request RIR conversion. However, by regulation, once the BEC has posted the job order to begin the recruitment process, the application is no longer eligible for RIR conversion. Since applications are processed by filing date, recruitment for TR applications is begun on a rolling basis based on priority date as cases are processed. Therefore, it is to the advantage of an employer who would like to request an RIR conversion to do so as soon as possible to minimize the possibility that the BEC begins recruitment on the application.

When will I receive my 45-day letter?

According to the Labor Department:

Due to the large volume of files transferred to the two Backlog Processing Centers, we cannot determine when your "45-day" Center Receipt Notification Letter (CRNL) will be mailed to you. As soon as your case is entered into the U.S. DOL Permanent Backlog System (PBLS), a "45-day" CRNL will be generated and sent to you and your attorney/agent of record, if one exists. Once you receive the "45-day" CRNL, all requested corrections, supporting documents, and the enclosed Selection of Continuation Option Letter must be returned to the appropriate Backlog Processing Center. In the designated space at the bottom of the Selection of Continuation Option Letter, please indicate your decision as to whether "I wish to withdraw this application" or "I wish to continue the processing of this application" with a check mark.

When is the employer permitted to provide an alternate wage source?

According to the Labor Department:

Unless the job opportunity for which certification is sought is covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement or professional sports league's rules or regulations, the employer may request the State Workforce Agency use an employer-provided survey, or Davis-Bacon Act or McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act wage rate, if appropriate.

What should I do if I do not have a case number because I never received a 45-day letter or any correspondence from a Backlog...

What should I do if I do not have a case number because I never received a 45-day letter or any correspondence from a Backlog Elimination Center (BEC)?

According to the Labor Department:

Please see the procedure regarding "No BEC Contact" here: backlog_faqs_09-11-06_nobec.pdf (PDF, 47K)

What is invalidation?

According to the Labor Department:

The Department of Homeland Security and a Consul of the Department of State have the authority to invalidate an issued labor certification if a determination is made, either in accordance with the agencies' procedures or by a court, that fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact involving the labor certification application exists.

What is the process by which an employer registers and files an application on line?

According to the Labor Department:

In order to file permanent labor certification applications on-line, the employer must have a Permanent Online System account, username, password, and PIN. The account allows for the preparation and management of applications on-line, the username and password are necessary to access the account, and the PIN is required to submit applications on-line.

Permanent Online System account
An account is created after an employer has submitted registration information on-line at www.plc.doleta.gov and the employer information is verified by DOL. Account creation is a means by which to control filing authorization and to provide account holders filing management capabilities. An employer must be registered and be in possession of a PIN in order to file applications on-line. Upon verification of the employer's information, a password and confirmation of the account holder's username are sent to the employer in one email and, for security reasons, the PIN in another. It must be noted that upon accessing the account for the first time, the system requires the DOL password be changed to a new password. It is critical that the employer be aware of and know the new password, as only an individual in possession of the account's valid username and password is able to access the account.
Sub-account
The holder of a Permanent Online System account is able to create multiple sub-accounts with individual usernames and passwords for persons authorized by the employer to file applications in its name, to include attorneys and agents. It is a means by which to provide the employer the security of ensuring only persons authorized by the employer are filing on the employer's behalf. In creating a sub-account, the employer is able to designate whether the sub-account holder is the employer's employee, the employer's agent or the employer's lawyer. The employer is also able to designate the level of security access available to the sub-account holder.

NOTE: While the employer is permitted the opportunity to designate persons to represent the employer in the application filing process, the employer must recognize that ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of all representations made by such designated persons rests with the employer. Therefore, the employer is encouraged to establish measures designed to ensure only legitimate dissemination and use of account information.

BALCA rules close relationship between labor certification sponsor and prior employer may disqualify prior experience.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) ruled (on or about December 7, 2006) that experience gained by the employee, beneficiary, with a prior employer may be disqualified if the sponsoring employer and the prior employer have a close relationship.  The general rule is that experience gained with the sponsoring employer can not be considered, absent special circumstances, as experience to qualify the beneficiary for the job offered in the labor certification.  In this ruling, BALCA has effectively held that experience with a prior employer will likewise be disqualified if the sponsoring employer has a close relationship with the prior employer.  In Matter of Harvest Office Services, Inc., 2005-INA-111 (12/7/06),

The message on my Corrections List states, "Failed Existence Check: Employer's address/phone number does not reference back...

The message on my Corrections List states, "Failed Existence Check: Employer's address/phone number does not reference back to employer's name." What should I do to resolve this problem?

According to the Labor Department:

You must submit a copy of the employer's articles of incorporation, business license, state registration, or other official documents that establish the employer as a bona fide business entity at a specific address to the appropriate Backlog Processing Center.

I've already e-mailed a request about a "no contact" case to the "no BEC contact" e-mail address prior to this announcement ...

I've already e-mailed a request about a "no contact" case to the "no BEC contact" e-mail address prior to this announcement, but have not heard anything, should I send another request?

According to the Labor Department:

No. BECs did not process e-mail to these boxes pending the release of this procedure. You should receive an initial acknowledgement of your request soon, depending on the volume of cases.

Does the Prevailing Wage used to establish a pattern of recruitment need to be 100% of the current prevailing wage ...

Does the Prevailing Wage used to establish a pattern of recruitment need to be 100% of the current prevailing wage for the occupation?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, as per current regulation governing recruitment for Foreign Labor Certification applications, recruitment should be done at 100% of the prevailing wage.

What is meant by "domestic worker applicants" in the provision on actual minimum requirements?

According to the Labor Department:

For purposes of § 656.17(i)(3), the provision on actual minimum requirements, the term "domestic" is being used as an alternative for "United States."

I have a case number but it begins with a "T", the Public Disclosure System says I need a D- or P- case number. What should...

I have a case number but it begins with a "T", the Public Disclosure System says I need a D- or P- case number. What should I do?

According to the Labor Department:

Until cases were fully data entered, they may have had numbers that began with a "T". These case numbers have since been converted and now begin with a "D" if the case is located in the Dallas BEC or a "P" if the case is in the Philadelphia BEC. The state in which the case was originally filed will determine the location of the appropriate BEC. You can check here to determine which state has your case, or you can try both a D and a P prefix to see which returns your case.

To whom should I send my case documentation for a case that could NOT be located at the BEC?

According to the Labor Department:

Send the above information to the appropriate BEC based on where the case was filed. The information should be addressed:

For Philadelphia BEC:
ATTN: No BEC Contact – Case Documentation
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
1 Belmont Avenue, Suite 200
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

For Dallas BEC:
ATTN: No BEC Contact – Case Documentation
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
700 North Pearl St., Suite 400N
Dallas, Texas 75201

Why must the advertisement medium be different in order for advertisements to be counted as additional steps?

Why must the advertisement medium be different in order for advertisements to be counted as additional steps? For instance why is it not permissible to count advertisements on two separate web sites as two steps or to place a third advertisement in the same newspaper of general circulation rather than using a local or ethnic publication and have it count as an additional step?

According to the Labor Department:

As with all the recruitment requirements, the purpose of requiring the employer to use three additional recruitment steps is to ensure that the greatest number of able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers are apprised of the job opportunity. It should be noted that each of the steps may target slightly different applicant populations. Using at least three of the additional steps normally used by businesses to recruit workers is a means of apprising a greater number of U.S. applicants of the job opportunity and more adequately substantiates an employer's claim there are no available U.S. workers for the job offer.

Can an employer request RIR conversion for a closed or withdrawn application?

According to the Labor Department:

No, only cases currently open and in process at the BEC are eligible.

However, if the employer is using the "No BEC Contact" procedure to reconstruct a case or the "Reopen" procedure to request reopen for a case you believe was closed in error as described in prior FAQs, you may submit your RIR conversion request and supporting documentation along with your reconstructed case. If requesting RIR conversion with another action, employer submissions should be clear that multiple actions are being requested, and documentation for each should be provided.

What will the BEC do about my case when they receive a request?

According to the Labor Department:

The initial step for the BEC will be to conduct a search to reconfirm that the BEC does not have the case in question.

If a case is NOT found, an e-mail will be sent to the employer or attorney indicating that the case could not be located and will provide instructions regarding what information the employer should provide. You will be required to send the following information (via regular mail) to the BEC:

Can business necessity be used to justify requirements which exceed the occupation's Specific Vocational Preparation ...

Can business necessity be used to justify requirements which exceed the occupation's Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) and/or are not normal to the occupation involved in the employer's application?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, business necessity is a means to justify requirements which are not normal to the occupation and/or exceed the SVP. While the job opportunity's requirements, as a rule, must be those normally required for the occupation and must not exceed the SVP level assigned to the occupation as shown in the O*Net Job Zones, business necessity may be used to justify requirements not normal to the occupation and/or which exceed the SVP.

NOTE: Business necessity can be established by the employer demonstrating that the job duties and requirements bear a reasonable relationship to the occupation in the context of the employer’s business and are essential to perform the job in a reasonable manner.

What if I have not been contacted?

The BECs have sent all 45-Day Center Receipt Notification Letters (CRNL) to employers or their attorneys for cases shipped to the BECs by State and Regional Offices. OFLC recognizes that there may be some employers or their agents that believe they should have an application pending but have still heard nothing and received no information from the appropriate BEC about the application. In order to provide employers with the opportunity to have their case processed while also guarding against potential fraud, OFLC has established specific steps for employers or their attorneys to follow.

About Antao & Chuang

Attorney Roger S. Antao Attorney Enna Chuang

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Since 1991, Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law, has served clients located throughout the U.S. and the world in U.S. immigration matters (including H-1B, J waivers, L, E, O, P visa cases, green card cases, and other immigration matters). We represent individuals and companies (from small companies to major multi-national corporations).

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Search for H1B Visa Employers

You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for H1B Visa employers.

"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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