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The Significance of the SOC Code within the PERM Process

The PERM process is a vital step in obtaining permanent labor certification for employment-based green cards in the U.S. An essential component of this process is obtaining the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD), which establishes the minimum wage required for the offered job position. The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code in the PWD is a means of ensuring fairness and compliance within the immigration system.

The SOC code offers a standardized framework for categorizing occupations based on their educational requirements, skillsets, and job duties. The SOC system provides a common language that helps both employers and the Department of Labor (DOL) clearly define and understand the nature of the job being offered. The goal is to eliminate ambiguity and ensure consistent classification across different positions, industries, and geographical locations. Each SOC code corresponds to a specific occupation recognized by the DOL. By accurately selecting the appropriate SOC code for the job, employers can align their position with its corresponding occupational category. This alignment is crucial for determining prevailing wages, as it enables a fair and accurate assessment of the job’s requirements and responsibilities.

The SOC code plays a pivotal role in establishing the prevailing wage for a given job position within the PERM process. The prevailing wage is the minimum wage that must be offered to foreign workers to ensure fair compensation within a given metropolitan statistical area. The SOC code helps determine the appropriate wage level for the job position. The DOL provides wage data for different SOC codes and occupational categories, taking into account factors; such as skill level, experience, and education. By matching the job’s SOC code with the corresponding wage level, employers can ensure compliance with the prevailing wage requirements. The SOC code promotes consistency and fairness in wage determination. For example, the SOC code helps prevent wage disparities by ensuring that jobs with similar skill requirements and responsibilities are compensated at similar wage levels. As a result, the SOC code protects both U.S. workers and foreign workers from underpayment or exploitation.

In the PERM process, employers are required to conduct recruitment efforts to demonstrate that there are no able, willing, or qualified U.S. workers available for the job position. The SOC code plays a crucial role in accurately advertising the offered job position. By using the appropriate SOC code, employers can ensure that the job advertisement accurately represents the position and aligns with the specific occupation sought within the PERM process. One of the mandatory recruitment efforts, the placement of the job order with the State Workforce Agency, has the SOC code listed to ensure that the position is accurately advertised to U.S. workers during the recruitment stage of the PERM process.

Thus, the SOC code ensures fairness, transparency, and compliance in the employment-based green card process. Understanding and utilizing the SOC code correctly is vital for employers, attorneys, and foreign workers seeking navigate the permanent labor certification process.

By : Ruth Garbanzo

Ruth Garbanzo
 assists clients in the beginning stages of their green card process in the Perm Labor Certification Department as well as the final stages of their green card process in the Adjustment of Status Department. Throughout our client’s green card journey, Ruth strives to provide diligent service to each client from start to finish.