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What is PERM?

PERM, or Program Electronic Review Management, is the Department of Labor’s labor certification system and is the first step in many employment-based permanent residency cases. The purpose of PERM is to ensure that foreign workers seeking permanent residency based on employment are not displacing minimally qualified U.S. workers. Most EB-2 and all EB-3 green card cases require employers to first obtain a certified PERM labor certification before filing the I-140 visa petition and the I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status.

What sort of “review” will take place and what changes are expected with PERM?

The Department of Labor (DOL) has not officially reviewed the PERM program since it was created approximately a decade ago. The DOL has confirmed that it will be initiating a review of the PERM program and relevant regulations. As part of this review process, DOL will seek input on the current regulation. Specifically, the DOL will seek input on the following:

(1) Options for identifying labor force occupational shortages and surpluses and methods for aligning domestic worker recruitment requirements with demonstrated shortages and surpluses;

(2) Methods and practices designed to modernize US worker recruitment requirements;

(3) Processes to clarify employer obligations to ensure PERM positions are fully open to US workers;

(4) Ranges of case processing timeframes and possibilities for premium processing; and

(5) Application submission and review process and feasibility for efficiently addressing nonmaterial errors.

When are the PERM changes expected?

The Department of Labor has acknowledged delays in drafting the new regulations. Although updated regulations have not been released, the Department of Labor has indicated the Administration is committed to publishing the regulations before the end of the Administration.