The U.S. Department of Labor has published a new regulation for the department’s Permanent Foreign Labor Certification (PERM) program. The PERM program helps meet workforce needs when there are no available American workers to fill an available job. The Department of Labor is able to process requests to fill vacancies with foreign workers only after employers affirm to the department that no American workers are available.
“The regulation creates a fair and efficient system for reviewing applications to certify foreign workers while maintaining safeguards for American workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco.
The department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will open two new national processing centers in Chicago and Atlanta to review applications. The new program will accept the electronic filing of applications, thereby significantly reducing paperwork and allowing for prompt approval or rejection of requests for labor certification. Electronic filing also will enable the department to conduct automated screening of applications and identify applications for audits.
Once a permanent labor certification is issued by the department, an employer must then petition the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to complete the visa approval process.
Under the previous program, a backlog of more than 300,000 applications for labor certification had built up. To address this backlog, the department recently announced the establishment of two temporary Backlog Elimination Centers to expedite processing of these applications. The centers, located in Dallas and Philadelphia, coordinate with state workforce agencies and the Employment and Training Administration’s Division of Foreign Labor Certification to address the backlog.