Increase in PERM Labor Certification Filings

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides targeted quarterly information regarding PERM labor certification (LC) filings. The PERM LC process is the starting point or foundation of most employment-based, permanent residence (“green card”) cases. The DOL statistics for the third quarter of fiscal year 2016 (FY16) are summarized below.

26% Increase in PERM Filings

The third quarter of FY16 saw PERM LC case filings totaling 28,055. This is an increase over the filings made during each of the first two quarters of FY16, as well as a significant increase when compared to the previous fiscal year. Overall, the DOL reports receipt of 74,590 PERM LC cases during the first three quarters of FY16 (October 2015 to June 2016). This is an increase of 26 percent in case volume over the same timeframe from fiscal year 2015 (FY15). This increase is a continuing trend, but the rate of increase moved from 15 percent, in the last few years, to 26 percent, for the first three quarters of FY16.

Denial Rate Steady at Over 4%

In FY15, the denial rate spiked to 10 percent in the third quarter. Typically, the denial rate is approximately five percent. For FY16, the denial rate has returned to a more typical rate. Overall, for the first three quarters of FY16, the DOL has approved 91.8 percent of PERM filings. The denial rate for the year is slightly above four percent. The remaining four percent of the PERM cases were withdrawn before a decision was reached.

Top Five Occupations and Industries Consistent With Recent Years

The top five occupational categories, for PERM certifications, are consistent with the findings from recent years. The percentages of cases within each of the top job families also changes very little, if at all. As in past years, over half of the PERM LCs approved in FY16 through the third quarter fall within the computer and mathematical classification. The second highest job family is architecture and engineering (9%) followed by management (8%), business and financial operations (6%), and education, training, and library (3%).

Employers who sponsor PERM LCs fall primarily within the professional, scientific, and technical services industry designations. These employers account for 45 percent of PERM filings. The remaining employers fall within manufacturing (16%), information (9%), finance and insurance (6%), and educational services (4%).


The leveling out of the denial rate is a positive trend. It is also notable that the number of cases processed during the first three quarters of FY16 is well above the number of cases filed during the same period in FY15. Should this trend continue, it would have a favorable impact on PERM case backlogs and processing times.


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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.