Faster Labor Certifications – PERM at Last!

By: Attys. Robert L. Reeves and Joseph I. Elias

The Immigration bar just received word that the Department of Labor is expecting to publish its PERM regulations the week of June 7th or shortly thereafter. These final regulations have been promised and in the works for over seven years now. PERM will allow employers to obtain labor certification for employees within 21 days of filing. This is an astonishingly quick processing time that currently is taking regions like California between 2 to 4 years to complete.

PERM should allow job applicants to file immigrant visa petitions and adjustment of status applications within seven months after the recruiting period has begun. Work authorizations can also be expected within 90 days after that. But, PERM also brings with it much more stringent requirements than either the traditional or fast-tracked labor certification process. The proposed regulations contained many provisions that the immigration bar contested as too harsh or unnecessary. The final rules will show if these protestations fell on deaf ears or were given the weight deserved. PERM’s harsher proposals include the following:

· Eliminate alternative experience;
· Require that employers’ advertisements state the name of the company and may require listing the wage offered;
· Require the wage offered by the employer to be equal to or higher than the prevailing wage;
· Allow for the revocation of approved labor certifications; and
· Limit severely the use of special requirements such as proficiency in a foreign language.

On June 22, 2004 Reeves & Associates will be participating in a national teleconference devoted exclusively to the new PERM regulations and their impact on immigration law. PERM does have a lot of promise especially in the ability to significantly reduce processing times. But, it may come at a higher cost that immigrants will have no option but to bear. This column will keep the immigration community informed of new developments in this area as they arise.