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Exploring the Basics of PERM Recruitment

In the intricate world of U.S. immigration, securing a PERM Labor Certification stands as a crucial milestone for foreign nationals aspiring to obtain permanent residency. At the heart of PERM Labor Certification lies the recruitment process, where sponsoring employers must test the U.S. labor market through various recruitment methods for “able, willing, qualified, and available” U.S. workers.

In this article, we aim to provide a clear and concise overview of the PERM Labor Certification recruitment process. From outlining the key steps involved, we’ll break down this intricate process into digestible pieces. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of the concepts and requirements involved in the recruitment process.

Mandatory Recruitment Steps for Professional and Non-Professional Occupations

All PERM applications, whether for a professional or non-professional occupation, require the following recruitment efforts:

  • Two Sunday print advertisements in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment, most appropriate to the occupation and most likely to bring responses from able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers;
  • 30 day job order with the State Workforce Agency (SWA) serving the area of intended employment; and 
  • Notice of Filing to be posted at the job site for a period of 10 consecutive business days.

If the job opportunity is located in a rural area of intended employment that does not have a newspaper with a Sunday edition, the employer may use the edition with the widest circulation in the area of intended employment.

Additional Recruitment Steps for Professional Occupations

In addition to the mandatory recruitment steps mentioned above, the Department of Labor (DOL) requires 3 additional recruitment steps for professional occupations. The employer must choose 3 of the following: 

  • Job fairs
  • Employer’s company website
  • Job search website
  • On-campus recruiting
  • Trade or professional organization
  • Private employment firms
  • Employee referral program
  • Campus placement office
  • Local or ethnic newspaper; and
  • Radio or TV advertisement

Content Requirements for Advertisements

Sunday Newspaper Advertisements

20 CFR §656.17(f) specifies that Sunday newspaper advertisements must:

  • Name the employer;
  • Direct applicants to report to or send resumes to the employer;
  • Provide a job description specific enough to apprise U.S. workers of the job opportunity; and
  • Indicate the geographic location of the job opportunity with enough specificity to apprise applicants of any travel requirements and where applicants will likely have to reside to perform the job.

SWA Job Order

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) has held that SWA job orders must meet the requirements of 20 CFR §656.17. In other words, the detailed content required in Sunday newspaper advertisements must also be included in SWA job orders.

Notice of Filing

20 CFR §656.10(d) specifies the Notice of Filing must:

  • State that it is being provided as a result of the filing of an application for permanent alien labor certification for the relevant job opportunity;
  • State that any person may provide documentary evidence bearing on the application to the Certifying Officer of the Department of Labor;
  • Provide the address of the appropriate Certifying Officer;
  • Contain all of the information required for advertisements by 20 CFR §656.17(f); and
  • State the rate of pay.

Additional Recruitment Steps

BALCA has held that the content requirements of 20 CFR §656.17(f) do not apply to the additional recruitment steps for professional occupations. BALCA found it was not the DOL’s intention to require employers to include in its additional recruitment steps the same detailed content it requires in the Sunday newspaper advertisements. Employers can advertise the job opportunity more broadly in its additional recruitment steps.

Documentation for Recruitment Steps

The employer must adequately document each recruitment step. 20 CFR §656 details how each recruitment step can be properly documented.

  • Sunday newspaper advertisements: Provide copies of the newspaper pages, proof of publication furnished by the newspaper, original tearsheets, or electronic tearsheets.
  • Job order: The start and end dates of the job order entered on the PERM application serve as documentation of this step.
  • Notice of Filing: Provide a copy of the posted notice and state where it was posted.
  • Additional Recruitment Steps
    • Job fairs: Provide brochures advertising the fair and newspaper advertisements in which the employer is named as a participant in the job fair.
    • Employer’s company website: Provide dated copies of pages from the company website.
    • Job search website: Providing dated copies of pages from the job search website.
    • On-campus recruiting: Providing copies of the notification issued or posted by the college’s or university’s placement office naming the employer and the date it conducted interviews for employment.
    • Trade or professional organization: Provide copies of pages of newsletters or trade journals.
    • Private employment firms: Provide copies of contracts between the employer and the private employment firm and copies of advertisements placed by the private employment firm.
    • Employee referral program: Provide dated copies of employer notices or memoranda advertising the program and specifying the incentives offered.
    • Campus placement office: Provide a copy of the employer’s notice of the job opportunity provided to the campus placement office.
    • Local or ethnic newspaper: Provide a copy of the page in the newspaper.
    • Radio or TV advertisement: Provide a copy of the employer’s text of the advertisement along with a written confirmation from the radio or television station stating when the advertisement was aired.

Recruitment Timeframe

Generally, the employer has 2 options when deciding when to begin the recruitment process.  The employer can begin advertising (1) while the prevailing wage application is pending or (2) after the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) is issued.

The employer must conduct recruitment during a 30- to 180-day period prior to filing a PERM application. All recruitment steps must occur at least 30 days, but not more than 180 days, before the filing of the PERM application. One of the three additional recruitment steps for professional occupations may be completed during the 30-day period before filing the PERM application.

Documentation for Recruitment Efforts

During the recruitment process, the employer may be reviewing resumes and conducting interviews of U.S. workers. The employer must keep detailed records of their recruitment efforts. It is important to note that an employer is not required to submit supporting documentation when a PERM application is filed.  The DOAL has implemented a quality control process in the form of audits to ensure compliance with all PERM regulations. In the event of an audit, the DOL typically requires:

  • Evidence of all recruitment efforts;
  • Copies of applicants’ resumes and completed employment applications; and
  • A recruitment report signed by the employer describing the recruitment steps undertaken, the results achieved, the number of hires, the number of U.S. applicants rejected, and the specific lawful job-related reasons for such rejections.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the various recruitment steps employed by sponsoring employers to meet the requirements of the PERM Labor Certification recruitment process. Each step in the recruitment process plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with PERM regulations and protecting U.S. workers from unfair competition.

Reddy Neumann Brown PC. has been serving our clients for over 25 years. Our team is dedicated to helping our clients navigate the U.S. business immigration system by offering prompt, practical, and professional advice. Because the U.S. business immigration system can be tricky, it is always best to contact a qualified immigration attorney to help come up with the proper solution for each individual case.

By: Camille Joson

Camille Joson is a Senior Associate Attorney in Reddy Neumann Brown PC’s PERM Labor Certification Department, where she assists clients in the beginning stages of the employment-based green card process. Camille guides clients through the PERM Labor Certification process from start to finish and has handled hundreds of PERM applications throughout her career.