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Caroline Ostrom, Minneapolis business immigration attorney, helps employers evaluate whether a position is suitable for Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) and assists with every step of the PERM process. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice regarding PERM.
The Immigration and Nationality Act requires generally that a foreign national may not be hired on a permanent basis unless the Secretary of Labor first certifies that there are no available, qualified and willing United States workers for the employment position. Usually, “qualified” refers to meeting the employer’s minimum requirements. For college and university teaching positions, the labor certification may be approved if the employer shows the foreign national is at least as qualified as any candidate (no need to show a lack of minimally-qualified U.S. workers, in other words).
Labor certification requires the employer to follow specific rules regarding recruitment of applicants for a permanent position. The process also requires notice of the labor certification process to other workers or a union representative, if any. Recruitment steps and notice must occur during a window of time between 180 and 30 days prior to submission of the application. Due to these rather detailed requirements, it is important to have the process mapped out in the beginning.
College and university positions involving teaching require, at a minimum, only one advertisement in a nationally-circulated professional journal, as well as the notice mentioned above. Colleges or universities must file the labor certification within 18 months of selecting the candidate, if that candidate is a foreign national. Often, colleges and universities need not engage in any additional recruitment beyond that which has already occurred to select the candidate, depending on the content and placement of the prior ads. This option for colleges and universities, called “Special Handling,” is in contrast to the process for other professional positions, in which cases a fresh recruitment campaign is almost always required to meet Department of Labor requirements and timelines.
Following the recruitment process, the employer must evaluate the pool of applicants. If no suitably qualified U.S. worker applicant is identified, the employer may proceed with filing the labor certification for Department of Labor review and certification.
U.S. Department of Labor regulations require that employers must pay expenses in connection with preparation and filing of a labor certification. This includes advertising or other expenses for recruiting U.S. workers, as well as attorneys’ fees.
Once the application is certified, the employer moves forward with an immigrant petition. An approved immigrant petition is a pre-requisite for approval of the employee’s application for adjustment of status to permanent resident, or an immigrant visa (if the worker is abroad).
Ostrom Law Office will help employers evaluate whether a particular set of employment circumstances is suitable for the PERM process. If so, we will guide employers with respect to meeting Department of Labor requirements regarding the wage offered, and the content of required advertisements and notices. We will assist in ensuring all timelines are met, and that required documentation of the process is in place in the event of a Department of Labor audit. We will advise employers with respect to Department of Labor regulations and policies regarding evaluation of candidates. We will assist with creation of required online accounts with the Department of Labor, and draft and file applications on behalf of the employer through those accounts, handling all communication to and from Department of Labor.
Based in Minneapolis, our immigration team works with employees and companies in the Twin Cities and throughout the globe. We welcome you to contact Ostrom Law Office for assistance with your immigration matter.