DOL Modernizes PERM Application Process

DOL Modernizes PERM Application Process
May 16, 2023

Employers hiring foreign national workers to work in the U.S. must obtain a permanent labor certification (PERM) from the Department of Labor (DOL). However, this process often proved complicated and slow. As a result, the DOL has changed how they process applications. The agency hopes this change will improve the employer experience and streamline the process.

Before obtaining this certification, employers must prove they lack available, qualified U.S. workers for the sponsored job. Employers can demonstrate this by first requesting a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. After receiving the determination and conducting the labor market test, employers may file the PERM certification. Finally, they must complete and submit the Form ETA-9089 application to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC).

As of May 15, 2023, the OFLC will not accept ETA-9089 applications through their legacy PERM Online System. Instead, employers must file using the DOL’s Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system. Additionally, the OFLC will no longer accept the previous version of Form ETA-9089.

The ETA-9089 form has received many updates, such as formatting changes and the order of requested information. Here are other changes it has undergone:

  • “Appendix A will be where the employer provides information concerning the foreign worker.”
  • “The job opportunity and some wage information data, previously collected under Sections F and H, will be directly imported from the Form ETA-9141 associated with the PWD tracking number entered into Section E.”
  • “The employer will no longer data enter the job opportunity information (duties, requirements, special skills) or prevailing wage information, and these will not be contained on the Form ETA-9089.”
  • “Information gathered in Section H of retiring Form ETA-9089 related to where the work will be performed has been expanded and is found in the new form in Section F.”

These are just a few of the changes to the ETA-9089 form. Interested parties can find further details at the Office of Foreign Labor Certification and the Public Stakeholder Webinar Overview of Form ETA-9089 on the Department of Labor’s website.

Employers will find these changes and the move to the FLAG platform significant when preparing and filing PERM applications. However, it remains uncertain whether the new system will prove better for employers than the previous one.

After successfully hiring foreign national workers, employers must complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process, which has proven equally complicated. The easiest way to correctly complete Form I-9 is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide employers through the process. It will also safely and securely store the forms and accompanying documentation.

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