President’s Executive Action Mandates Improvements to PERM

President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to review, update, and reform the PERM labor certification (PERM LC) program. This directive is part of the President’s efforts to make improvements to the U.S. immigration system via executive action.

Background on PERM Labor Certification

The PERM LC is the starting point in many employment-based, permanent residence (i.e. green card) cases. This application is filed by an employer, in order to demonstrate that there are no willing, able, qualified, and available U.S. workers for a particular job opportunity. In PERM cases, completion of the labor certification process is generally necessary before the employer is able to file the immigrant petition (I-140). The MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, How Long Will it Take to Get a Green Card?, provides a more complete overview of the PERM process.

PERM LC Improvements Must Catch Up with Industry Changes

The PERM process of filing labor certifications began in 2005, and a factsheet released by the DOL notes that the agency “…has not comprehensively examined and modified the permanent labor certification requirements and process since their inception ten years ago.” The DOL recognizes that business needs and processes have changed, and that, while technological advances have altered the ways that employers recruit workers, the recruitment methods required by the PERM LC process have failed to keep pace.

Steps to Modernize PERM

The DOL will be requesting input on ways to modernize the PERM LC process. The agency is free to consider all aspects of the PERM program for modifications and improvements, but will specifically be soliciting input from the public on the following.

  • Options for identifying labor shortages and surpluses, and methods to synchronize recruitment requirements with these shortages and surpluses
  • Methods to modernize recruitment requirements
  • Case processing timeframes and premium processing options
  • Submission and review process, including options for addressing minor errors

PERM Changes Require Issuance of Regulations

It is important to understand that there are no immediate changes being implemented to the PERM LC program. Rather, the DOL is seeking to modify the formal regulations that govern the PERM process, and such changes generally can only occur after following a regimented, oftentimes lengthy rule-making process.


The PERM process is of pivotal importance to U.S. businesses and the foreign nationals they employ who are intent on becoming permanent residents of the United States. MurthyDotCom will closely track the proposed changes and provide updates and analysis as more 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.