PERM regulations require a sponsoring employer to test the U.S. labor market through various recruitment methods for “able, willing, qualified, and available” U.S. workers. If no such U.S. worker is found through good faith recruitment, an employer can file a PERM application on behalf of the beneficiary.
For Schedule A occupations, the Department of Labor (DOL) has predetermined there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available. Because of the occupational shortage of these U.S. workers, the DOL has “pre-certified” Schedule A occupations. An employer who wishes to hire a person for a Schedule A occupation is not required to test the U.S. labor market and file a PERM application with the DOL.
The benefit of Schedule A designation is time and cost efficiency. A sponsoring employer is not required to conduct the recruitment process – a process which can be very costly to the employer. Importantly, the employer does not have to file the PERM application with the DOL, where adjudication is currently taking around 6 to 7 months.
The employer must apply for Schedule A designation by submitting a PERM application to USCIS in conjunction with an I-140 immigrant petition. These petitions must be filed with a valid Prevailing Wage Determination and documentation that a Notice of Filing was posted no more than 180 days prior to filing.
The following occupations are the Schedule A occupations:
- Group I – physical therapists and professional nurses; and
- Group II – immigrants of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts, including college and university teachers, and immigrants of exceptional ability in the performing arts.
Camille Joson is a Senior Associate Attorney in the firm’s PERM Labor Certification Department, where she assists clients in the beginning stages of the green card process.