Recently, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification of DOL posted select statistics about PERM cases thus far in 2012. The Program Electronic Review Management process (PERM) is the process for obtaining labor certification and is the first step for foreign nationals in obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa through their employment. The Labor Certification requirement is waived for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition under EB-2 and is not required in an EB-1 petition, but for those foreigners who do not qualify for NIW or EB-1, the PERM process can be an excellent option. Recent statistics help us to evaluate the current Permanent Labor Certification Program process.
According to a document published by AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, on February 15, 2012, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification has received 17,700 applications in FY 2012, to date. Of those, the vast majority were electronically filed, rather than mailed in. Thus far, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification has processed 16,555 of those cases. 1,980 were certified in January, with a cumulative 12,350 applications certified in FY 2012 as of February 15, 2012. The ratio of certified versus denied cases remains promising. For the year to date, approximately 74.6% of all processed cases were certified.
Additionally, as of February 15, 2012, the PERM processing priority date has reached October 2011 for cases under analyst review. The PERM processing priority date is the date that the PERM labor certification application was filed with the Department of Labor. The PERM Processing Priority date has already reached October 2011 for cases under analyst review, while for audits, the priority date has reached June 2011. For standard appeals the PERM Processing Priority Date is currently August 2010, and for government error appeals the Processing Priority Date is current.
Usually, most PERM cases take around 6-10 months from the start to approval. The recruitment process, including designing the job description, obtaining a prevailing wage determination, interviewing applicants and completing the recruitment report, takes around 3 months. From that point, the DOL review and adjudication process takes around 3-7 months depending on the number of pending cases at its processing centers. At this point in time, there are not too many pending cases.