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PERM Prevailing Wage Determinations Causing Significant Delay In PERM Filings

Published: 06/24/2022

As part of the PERM Labor Certification (PERM) process, an employer must obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the Department of Labor’s (DOL) National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC). The prevailing wage is the rate the employer must at least offer the sponsoredposition at. It is also the rate that must be paid to the foreign worker once the green card is received. The NPWC issues PWDs based on multiple factors, including, but not limited to, the job title, job description, minimum requirements for the position, and the area of intended employment. 

In addition to obtaining a PWD, employers must conduct recruitment to test the U.S. labor market for able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers for the sponsored job opportunity. This process helps ensure that U.S. workers will not be adversely impacted by hiring a foreign worker into a permanent position. 

In a nutshell, the recruitment process involves advertising in multiple DOL mandated mediums and takes a minimum of 60 days to complete. Often, however, recruitment will exceed 60 days for multiple reasons. For example, employers may still be conducting interviews if resumes are received from U.S. workers or certain advertisements may not yet be complete. (For more information on the PERM recruitment process, visit PERM FAQs).

Currently, we are witnessing a significant increase in PWD processing times, with wage determinations taking a minimum of 6 months to be issued. This has caused significant delays in filing PERM applications.  An employer cannot file a PERM application without a Prevailing Wage Determination. After a PWD request has been submitted, the employer generally has 2 options: (1) Begin the PERM recruitment process after the PWD is issued by the NPWC, or (2) begin the PERM recruitment process while the PWD request is still pending with the NPWC.

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