PERM Gets Rough in an Uncertain Job Market

Employers who may be trying to proceed with PERM applications for foreign national workers are in an uphill battle. With layoffs, furloughs and unemployment at all time highs, the Department of Labor is on high alert for unsuspecting PERM employers who are trying to do the right thing under difficult circumstances.

Employers who have H-1B or other workers with limited time on their nonimmigrant status, don’t have the luxury of waiting until the job market improves to begin PERM applications for their employees. For H-1B or L-1B workers in their final year or two of nonimmigrant visa eligibility, PERM is a necessity or they will have to return to their home countries.

PERM job descriptions are more important than ever, as they will dictate who applies for the job during the PERM recruitment process, as well as how the foreign national qualifies for the position, and under which immigration category. I often get asked what should be in a job description for a PERM sponsorship. I’ve seen so many employers and HR managers make mistakes in this area. A PERM job advertisement must go in the newspaper classifieds on two different Sundays, so typical online postings with their long list of duties and company descriptions, would be prohibitively expensive. It is a true art to get the ad just right so that it supports a successful PERM application, doesn’t cost the employer and arm and a leg, and captures the foreign national’s qualifications for the position. There is no substitute for working with seasoned immigration counsel on developing PERM advertising and job descriptions.

We recently presented a webinar on PERM in the COVID-19 era. Susanne C. Heubel, Alejandra Vargas, and I provided employers with a PERM roadmap  for our new normal.  Through this Duane Morris Institute webinar we provided employers with a few key takeaways for successful PERM applications:

  • Understanding the Department of Labor’s mandate to protect American workers during the PERM process will help employers determine when and who to sponsor for PERM applications;
  • The Department of Labor will be conducting more PERM audits due to the very tough job market and high unemployment rates;
  • Employers will need to be super strategic in drafting PERM job descriptions and advertisements due to the availability of workers in the market in certain job categories;
  • Strict compliance with all PERM requirements including the posting notice, prevailing wage  and all advertising is imperative for overcoming a DOL audit.

Replays of our webinar are available, so please reach out if you would like a link to the program, or if you have PERM and employment based immigration sponsorship questions.