PERM is one of the most important immigration processes in the United States. It gives businesses the opportunity to sponsor a foreign national in their attempt to get a green card to work in the States. By sponsoring the foreign national, the businesses is doing two things. The first is that they are standing behind the unique skills of the foreign national and requesting that the government allow the individual into the country to help the businesses, and by extension, the general good of the nation. The second thing that a PERM sponsorship does is speed up the application process that the foreign national must go through to get a green card. Put quite simply, a foreign national that has successfully achieved PERM status is far more likely to get a Green Card for general working status in the States. It successfully accounts for the first of three steps a foreign national must go through in order to get full status.
But how long does it take to get PERM?
Administrative Hold Ups
A lot of the issues that businesses have with PERM come down to timeline. It takes a long time to successfully complete the PERM process, which includes posting ads on works sites and filling for immigration paper for the foreign national. As long as everything is done completely according to specifications, and as long as there are no surprising hold ups on the administrative side, filling for the PERM LC application (with the form ETA 9089) should take between four to six months.
The Prevailing Wage Estimation
One of the aspects that holds up the entire process is the Prevailing Wage Estimation (PWE). Companies are advised to complete this step before applying for the PERM status, because going through both at the same time will only push the timeline back. Simply getting a PWE from the Department of Labor takes six weeks, minimum. The reason for such a lengthy assessment period has to do with the fact that the DOL has to survey the entire industry and adjudicated whether the wage is fair or not.
Issues With The PWE
Issues with the PWE can emerge if the wage offered by the employer in the PERM application is higher than what the Department of Labor determines. If this is the case then the law demands that the employer (the company looking to sponsor the foreign national) must restart the entire application. The best thing an employer can do is get the PWE assessed before filing for the PERM. That way the employer can be certain to offer a higher wage than the minimum salary set out in the prevailing wage estimation.