• Emily McIntosh

Processing Times for PERM in 2020


What is PERM?

PERM is the abbreviation for “Program Electronic Review Management”. This is the first step when filing the Green Card or employment-based immigrant visa for your foreign national employee. During this process, the employer:

  1. Files a “prevailing wage request” to the Department of Labor (DOL) via its FLAG website. The DOL uses the request to determine and issue the employer with a prevailing wage determination (PWD). This PWD dictates the wage for the position based on worksite location and experience level required for the job.

  2. Starts recruitment to ensure that no willing and qualified U.S. domestic worker applied for the job. There are these mandatory postings that the employer needs to place -

  3. An advertisement with the state workforce agency for 30 days

  4. An advertisement with a major regional newspaper on two different Sundays

  5. Job notice at the worksite for 10 consecutive days

  6. Any of three additional activities such as: participating in job fair; placing TV or radio ads; on-campus recruiting etc.

  7. Files ETA Form - 9089 after 30-day mandatory period has passed and provided no qualified U.S. domestic worker was found for the job. This form is filed online via the DOL’s website.



PERM Processing Time in 2020

The total time for the PERM process varies based on the underlying steps that need to be taken and approved. Let’s look at each step and the estimated time it is currently taking to complete it.

  1. Prevailing Wage Determination -

  2. To determine the prevailing wage, the DOL is currently taking upwards of 150 days to approve. Currently the applications submitted in January 2020 are being reviewed. NOTE - if you have a pending PW request or are planning to file one, make sure to understand how the New Interim Final Rule has affected the wage determination. Talk to your immigration counsel to plan for the wage hike.

  3. Cases also need to be reviewed by the DOL’s expert analysts after the prevailing wage is determined. This step can take over 120 days. Currently the analysts are reviewing cases from April 2020.

  4. Recruitment efforts - this step usually starts after the PWD and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days.

  5. Form - 9089 - After filing the form, DOL may take several months to adjudicate the PERM. The three possible outcomes are - PERM approval; PERM denial; PERM audit. If DOL requests an audit then the employer has to provide additional evidence and this might cause further delay. Currently it is taking more than 209 days for DOL to reach a decision on applications flagged for audit.



How to check PERM Status

Check the DOL’s PERM Processing time - you can use this link to check the processing time for the applications that are under review each month.


Check Filing Date - if your attorney has filed the Form 9089 online then you can check the status using the DOL’s Permanent Case Management System.



What’s next?

Once the PERM is approved, the employer can file an I-140 petition for the foreign national employee.


Check out our other article about the Green Card Backlog, to understand the complete process.



Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.


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