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Permanent Employment of Aliens in the United States

What the Program Does

  • A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain an approved labor certification request from the DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are no qualified U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.


  • 20 CFR Part 656

Qualifying Criteria

  • The job opportunity must be for a full time, permanent position.
  • There must be a bona fide job opening available to U.S. workers.
  • Job requirements must adhere to what is customarily required for the occupation in the U.S. and may not be tailored to the foreign worker's qualifications.
  • The employer must pay at least the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Pre-filling Recruitment Steps

  • All employers filing the ETA Form 9089 (except for those applications involving college or university teachers selected pursuant to a competitive recruitment and selection process, Schedule A occupations, and sheepherders) must attest, in addition to a number of other conditions of employment, to having conducted recruitment prior to filing the application.
  • The employer must recruit under the standards for professional occupations if the occupation involved is on the list of occupations of the final PERM regulation. For all other occupations not normally requiring a bachelor's or higher degree, employers can simply recruit under the requirements for nonprofessional occupations. Although the occupation involved in a labor certification application may be a nonprofessional occupation, the regulations do not prohibit employers from conducting more recruitment than is specified for such occupations.

Occupational Schedules

  • The USDOL has established predetermined findings for specific occupations:
    • Schedule A is a list of occupations, as set forth at 20 CFR 656.15, that the USDOL has determined do not have sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and available, and that wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers will not be adversely effected.
    • Applications for Schedule A occupations are filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the U.S. Consular Office. Information on this filing process is available from the US Department of Labor (USDOL).

For links to additional information, answers to frequently asked questions and complete details on processing labor certification requests under the PERM Regulations, visit the USDOL Foreign Labor Certification FAQs.

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New Hampshire Employment Security (NHES)
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