Insights and Information Based on PERM LC Filings

In order to remain competitive and retain needed workers from abroad, U.S. companies often sponsor permanent residence (“green card”) cases. Most employer-sponsored cases are initiated through the PERM labor certification (PERM LC) process. What follows is information released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) related to the types of PERM LCs certified during fiscal year 2014 (FY14), as well as the volume of such filings.

Overview of PERM Labor Certification Process

Each employment-based green card case in the third preference (EB3) category, as well as most employment-based, second preference (EB2) cases, must start with the filing and approval of a PERM LC. This filing is made with the DOL and is intended to protect the U.S. labor market. The PERM LC is a certification that, after appropriate recruitment efforts, the employer has been unable to locate a qualified, available, and willing U.S. worker for that particular job. The review and adjudication of these PERM LC case filings are the responsibility of the DOL Office of Foreign Labor Certifications (OFLC). The MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, PERM Labor Certification Process and Timing (Part 1 of 2) (18.Mar.2013) provides more details on the PERM LC process.

Leading Occupations: Computer and Math Related

The OFLC releases a variety of statistics each quarter. The most recently released report, as of the time of this writing, is based on data through June 30, 2014, which is the end of the third quarter of FY14. The report shows that the top occupations, making up 56 percent of PERM LC approvals, fall within the computer and mathematical job family. Architecture and engineering (12%) are next, followed by, management (8%), business and financial operations (7%), and education, training, and library (5%).

Leading Industries: Professional, Scientific, Technical

The largest group of sponsoring employers, 44 percent, is within the professional, scientific, and technical services industries. This is followed by manufacturing (16%), information (11%), educational services (7%), and finance and insurance (6%).

Leading Countries of Origin for Beneficiaries: India, China, and Canada

The top five countries of citizenship for beneficiaries of approved PERM LCs are: India (56%), China (7%), Canada (5%), South Korea (4%), and the Philippines (3%). The large number of Indian national beneficiaries means that these individuals will continue to face long wait times in the overall green card process due to the per-country quota limits for the issuance of immigrant visas or green cards.

FY14 Seeing an Increase in PERM LC Filings

The DOL received more than 53,000 PERM LC filings during the first three quarters of FY14. This is a 15 percent increase over the number of filings this time last year. The DOL has approved more than 47,000 PERM LCs in FY14, and denied more than 3,600. Additionally, nearly 3,000 filings more were withdrawn by the respective sponsoring employers.

Note that cases approved in FY14 were not necessarily filed during this fiscal year, as PERM LC processing times generally are quite lengthy, particularly for the cases that are selected for audit review. The DOL reports that, of the pending PERM LC cases, 28 percent are under audit review. Updated processing time information is available on the DOL WebSite.

Typical Profile of Beneficiaries: H1B Worker with Advanced Degree

The vast majority of PERM LC beneficiaries are in the United States in H1B status. Slightly over half of the PERM LC filings were for positions that listed an advanced degree as a minimum requirement.

Leading Worksite States

Nearly one quarter of the PERM LC filings in FY14 are for positions located in California. The worksite state with the second highest number of filings is Texas (10%), followed by New York (8%), New Jersey (7%), and Washington (7%).


The data provided by the DOL sheds some light on developing trends within employment-based cases. MurthyDotCom will continue to provide explanations and analyses as relevant information becomes available.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.