I discussed the Department of Labor’s PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) program in the post below. Just to recap, very simply, PERM is a process that’s needed whenever a permanent residency is sought through an employment related green card (such as EB-2 and EB-3s). The Department of Labor (independent of the USCIS) will verify that the job being offered to the potential foreign national (or non-immigrant visa holder) doesn’t have a qualified US worker attempting to get it.
PERM will be rolling out new forms and a new web portal next year, January 1, 2009.
Typically a PERM application must be approved first before an employer can begin the permanent residency sponsorship route by filing an I-140/I-485 (assuming the dates are current and all that).
PERM approval time typically ranges anywhere from 60 to 90 days (but in some cases, even 120 days).
The Department of Labor is currently working on PERM applications from April 2008, soon to be on applications from May 2008 (which is approximately 90 days, given when they made this announcement, which was mid-July).
HOWEVER, if your PERM application is part of a random audit or a targeted audit (meaning that your PERM application was processed by the law firm of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP), then the PERM wait becomes much longer. Currently, the Department of Labor is working on audits from March 2007. Yes, last year. So it’s quite a wait.
Given the actions that the Department of Labor has taken (not only auditing the above law firm, one of the largest, but debarment of a certain software company, and supervised recruitment at another law firm), it signals a shift that there will be more “enforcement” actions taken and increased scrutiny on all incoming PERM applications (and LCAs).