PERM/EB-3 Visa – Professional, Skilled, and Unskilled Workers

EB-3 visa is an immigrant visa category for U.S. employers seeking to permanently employ for  professional, skilled, or unskilled positions. The position must be full-time and permanent in nature. The  EB-3 process involves three major steps.  

Step 1: the PERM Labor Certification Process with the Department of Labor 

PERM, an acronym for the Permanent Labor Certification, is a meticulously designed process  overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) as part of the employment-based  immigration system. The PERM process consists of three mini steps: (1) Prevailing Wage  Determination; (2) Employer Recruitment; and (3) PERM Application.

Prevailing Wage Determination: The first step is filing a Prevailing Wage request. The DOL  determines the prevailing wage, which is the minimum salary required to be paid by the  Employer, based on the position and its location. This wage ensures that the salary offered for  the position does not undercut domestic wages and promote unpleasant working conditions. 

Employer Recruitment: After receiving the prevailing wage, but before filing a PERM application  with the DOL, the employer must undertake a recruitment process to potentially identify any  qualified U.S. workers in the workforce. This typically includes advertising the job in various  mediums in accordance with the DOL regulations created in 2005, such as the state workforce  agency, newspapers, radio ads, job boards, and/or the employer’s own website. The  recruitment process varies depending upon the type of position, job location, job requirements,  travel requirements, number of positions available, etc. 

PERM Application Submission: Once recruitment is complete and no suitable U.S. workers are  found, the employer files ETA Form 9089, also known as the PERM application, with the DOL.  This form includes detailed information about the job, its requirements, recruitment efforts, and  the foreign worker. Once DOL approves the PERM application, we move on to Step 2.  

Step 2: the I-140 Petition with USCIS 

This petition is to establish that there is an employer-employee relationship, the employer-sponsor has  the ability to pay the offered wage, and the employee qualifies for the job position. USCIS often takes  several months to adjudicate an I-140 petition. The I-140 petition is eligible for premium processing  which means by paying an additional fee USCIS will process the I-140 petition within 15 calendar days.  

Step 3: Green Card Application through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing  

Adjustment of Status: If the immigrant employee is in the United States on another valid status (F-1,  H-1b, E-2, etc.) and an immigrant visa is available, an adjustment of status application can be filed.  

If an immigrant visa is available when it is time to file the I-140 petition, the I-140 petition and the  adjustment of status application will be filed together. If an immigrant visa is not available at the time of 

filing the I-140 petition, the adjustment of status application will be filed as soon as an immigrant visa  becomes available.  

Consular Processing: If the immigrant employee is outside the United States, once the immigrant visa is  available, the national visa center will send a notification to proceed with the consular application,  schedule an interview at the consulate, and be issued an immigrant visa. 

How do you know if an immigrant visa is available? 

The Visa Bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant visas and is governed and maintained by  USCIS and the Department of State. The Visa Bulletin only applies to immigrant visas in the following  categories: employment based, family preference, and special immigrant visa. A visa is available if the date on the applicable chart is on or after the priority date of the qualifying petition (I-130, I-140, I-360,  etc.). You can find the priority date for the qualifying petition on the receipt notice or approval notice  issued by USCIS. However, EB-3 PERM applications are treated differently, and therefore, the priority  date for EB-3 PERM cases is the date that the PERM application was filed as part of Step 1.  

Department of Status Visa Bulletin:
USCIS Visa Availability for Adjustment of Status Guidance: