Before a U.S. employer may bring a worker permanently to the United States the Secretary of Labor has to certify to the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State that (a) there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available at the time of application in the place where the individual is to perform the work, and that (b) the employment of the individual will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. This process is known as the labor certification process or PERM.
PERM, which replaced previous processing versions of the labor certification process, was implemented 10 years ago this May. The Department of Labor which processed over 70,000 applications through PERM, has never adjusted the PERM process to changing labor and economic conditions such as increased demand for labor, technology advances, and changes in information dissemination. Summarily, industry needs, requirements and practices have outgrown the PERM recruitment process. To realign itself with actual demand, the DOL is committed to changing its processes and is seeking input on:
- Options for identifying labor force occupational shortages and surpluses and methods for aligning domestic worker recruitment requirements with demonstrated shortages and surpluses;
- Methods and practices designed to modernize U.S. worker recruitment requirements;
- Processes to clarify employer obligations to insure PERM positions are fully open to U.S. workers;
- Ranges of case processing timeframes and possibilities for premium processing; and
- Application submission and review process and feasibility for efficiently addressing nonmaterial errors.