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PERM Processing Times in 2024

Unlock the latest insights on the 2024 PERM processing time! Dive into our blog for expert tips, updates, and strategies to streamline your immigration journey.
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Updated: July 17, 2024

The Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) is a critical component in the U.S. employment-based immigration process. It requires employers to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers for a specific position before hiring a foreign worker.

In order to do that, they must know how it works, as well as its current processing times for applications. It helps in planning the hiring process, setting realistic expectations, and exploring alternative immigration options if necessary.

What is PERM for Immigration?

PERM is the first step in obtaining a Green Card or an employment-based immigrant visa for a foreign national employee. This process involves several critical stages designed to ensure that hiring a foreign worker does not adversely affect the U.S. labor market. 

Initially, the employer files a prevailing wage request with the Department of Labor (DOL) through the FLAG website by completing an ETA 9141 form. This request results in a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD), which establishes the appropriate wage for the job based on its location and required experience level.

Following this, the employer must conduct a thorough recruitment process to confirm that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position. This involves posting job advertisements with the state workforce agency for 30 days, placing ads in a major regional newspaper on two different Sundays, and displaying a job notice at the worksite for ten consecutive days. Additionally, the employer must engage in three other recruitment activities, such as participating in job fairs or placing advertisements on TV or radio.

Once these recruitment efforts are completed and it is determined that no qualified U.S. workers are available, the employer files the ETA Form 9089 online via the DOL's website. This form documents the job details, the recruitment process, and the qualifications of the foreign worker. Successfully navigating these steps ensures compliance with U.S. labor laws while allowing the employer to hire a skilled foreign worker when necessary.

PERM Timelines in 2024

The total time for the PERM process can vary significantly based on the steps involved. Here’s an up-to-date overview of each step and the current estimated processing times:

Recruitment Efforts

  • Timeframe: 30 to 60 days.
  • Details: This step involves comprehensive job advertisements and recruitment efforts to ensure no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position.

Prevailing Wage Determination

  • Current Processing Time: Approximately 168 days.
  • Details: The Department of Labor is currently reviewing applications submitted in June 2023. Some cases may require further review by DOL’s expert analysts, which can take over 346 days, with analysts currently reviewing cases from December 2022.

Employers use ETA 9141 to request a prevailing wage from the DOL, which is required for various immigration-related employment processes such as H-1B, H-2B, PERM, and others. On average the ETA 9141 processing time for complete cases is around 18 calendar days, while incomplete cases take about 35 calendar days to process​.

Ensuring accurate and timely PWD is essential for compliance with U.S. labor laws, fair wages, and a smooth immigration application process.

To properly complete this process the following steps need to be followed.

  1. Gather Required Information: Job title, job description, and work location.
  2. Complete Form ETA-9141: Accurately fill out all sections of the form.
  3. Submit to DOL: Complete ETA 9141 e-filing via the DOL’s online portal.
  4. Monitor ETA-9141 Processing Time: Keep track of the Form ETA-9141 processing time and any updates from the DOL.

Form ETA9089 Processing Time

  • Current Processing Time: Approximately 346 days.
  • Details: After filing the ETA Form 9089, the DOL currently takes an average of 387 days for initial review of the PERM application. The possible outcomes are:some textsome text
    • PERM approval
    • PERM denial
    • PERM audit

PERM Audit
Being selected for an audit can increase the processing time of the PERM case significantly, making it important to prepare the form to minimize the chances of an audit. 

  • Current Processing Time: Over 478 days, which includes initial review and audit.
  • Details: If an application is flagged for audit, the employer must provide additional evidence, which significantly delays the process.

Factors Affecting Processing Times

Several factors contribute to the extended processing times for PERM applications:

  • Increased Workload: A surge in applications has overwhelmed the DOL.
  • Inadequate Funding: Limited resources have slowed down processing capabilities.
  • New Filing Systems: Implementation of new systems, including the updated ETA Form 9089, has introduced additional delays.

Strategies to Navigate PERM Delays

To mitigate delays in the PERM process, employers should consider starting the recruitment process while awaiting the Prevailing Wage Determination. This proactive approach can reduce the overall processing time, potentially allowing the PERM application to be filed more swiftly once the PWD processing time is completed. However, this strategy comes with risks and should be discussed with an immigration attorney to weigh the pros and cons in urgent situations, such as approaching visa expiration dates​​.

Additionally, preparation and timely submission of all required documents are crucial. Ensuring that the ETA Form 9089 and all accompanying documentation are complete and free from errors can prevent significant delays. Employers should also stay informed about current processing times by regularly checking updates from the Department of Labor.

Of course, accurate documentation is the backbone of a successful PERM application. Employers must ensure that all job advertisements, recruitment efforts, and application forms are precisely detailed and comply with DOL requirements. Meticulous records of all recruitment activities must be kept. Inaccuracies or incomplete information can lead to application denials or extended processing times due to requests for additional information. Thorough documentation also aids in efficiently handling audits, which can further prolong the process or result in a denial of the case if not managed correctly​.

Next Steps to Green Card

Following approval of the form ETA-9089 PERM application, the petitioner files form I-140 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services making sure to select the appropriate category and include the correct filing fee and all required supporting evidence.

After obtaining I-140 approval, the remaining steps toward getting a Green Card involve several key processes and timing considerations. 

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

  1. Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status): If you are already in the U.S., you will file Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident. This process can only be initiated once your priority date is current, which can be tracked using the Visa Bulletin from the U.S. Department of State. The I-485 application involves background checks and may include a biometrics appointment and an interview with USCIS​​.
  2. Consular Processing: If you are outside the U.S., you will undergo consular processing. This involves submitting your documentation to the National Visa Center (NVC) and subsequently attending an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. The timing for consular processing can vary based on the specific consulate's workload​​.
  3. Work Authorization (EAD): Dependent applicants can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) once the I-140 is approved. This allows them to work legally in the U.S. while waiting for the green card process to complete​​.
  4. Maintaining Nonimmigrant Status: It’s crucial to maintain your current visa status while awaiting your green card. This may involve applying for extensions of your existing visa to ensure you remain in lawful status​.
  5. Monitoring Priority Dates and Visa Bulletins: Regularly check the Visa Bulletin to see when your priority date becomes current. This is essential for knowing when you can file Form I-485 or proceed with consular processing​.

Green Card Processing Time

The processing times for green cards can vary widely based on several factors, including the category of the visa, the applicant's country of origin, and the workload of USCIS or the consular office. Here’s an overview:

  1. EB-2 and EB-3 Visas: These employment-based visas generally take between 12 to 36 months to process. The EB-2 visa is for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities, while the EB-3 visa is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers​​.
  2. I-140 Processing: The processing time for Form I-140 typically ranges from 6 months to over a year. Premium processing is available, which can expedite this step to about 15 calendar days, though it does not speed up the overall green card issuance​​.
  3. Adjustment of Status (I-485): For those already in the U.S., the adjustment of status process can take approximately 8 months to over a year. This timeframe can vary based on the specifics of the case and USCIS workload​​.
  4. Consular Processing: For applicants outside the U.S., consular processing times can vary but generally are quicker than adjustment of status, depending on the consulate's scheduling and workload​​.

Streamline Labor Certification Processes 

The PERM process in 2024 can be challenging, but understanding each step and staying informed about current processing times can make a significant difference. Employers can benefit from starting the recruitment process early, maintaining accurate documentation, and consulting with experienced immigration attorneys to avoid common pitfalls. 

By being proactive and well-prepared, employers can streamline the PERM application process, ensuring they can hire the skilled foreign workers they need without unnecessary delays.

Immigration lawyers can significantly enhance the chances of a smooth PERM process by using immigration forms management software, such as Docketwise. Systems such as this have smart forms features, enabling them to complete them with ease. 

Immigration lawyers also assist in preparing for and responding to potential audits, ensuring that the employer’s documentation meets all regulatory standards​. With Docketwsie, attorneys can save time by streamline immigration forms processes and tracking cases. Book a demo today to learn more about how Docketwise can help your firm!

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