Data Shows Most PERM Applications are for Highly Educated Workers

Each quarter, the Department of Labor publishes statistical data about the applications and certifications it adjudicates as a preliminary step in employment-based immigration petitions. Applicants for H-1B's, H-2A's, H-2B's, and employment-based green cards that require a test of the U.S. labor market, must all obtain various certifications from the Department of Labor before they can submit their petition to the USCIS. The most recent data for employment-based green cards is shown below:

This is the data for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, otherwise known as PERM. Filing the PERM application with the Department of Labor is the first step in the employment-sponsored green card process, for those categories of applicants that require the employer to test the U.S. labor market as a prerequisite to sponsoring a foreign national for a green card. To test the labor market for professional positions, an employer is required to post Notice in-house, place two Sunday ads in the local major newspaper, place a 30-day ad with the state workforce agency, and take three additional recruitment steps. These three additional steps could include: running an ad on their own website, placing an ad with an internet job search, using an employee referral program with incentives, attending job fairs, using on-campus recruiting, using private employment firms, running an ad in a local or ethnic newspaper, or running ads on radio or TV. The purpose of the recruitment is to see if there are qualified U.S. workers available for the particular job being offered.

During the most recent quarter, the Department of Labor certified just over 24,000 PERM applications, and denied just over 1800. Of those 24,000 certified PERM applications, the top five occupations were in the computer, software, and electronics industry. Over 20,000 of the PERM applications required at least a Bachelor's degree, with over 11,000 of those requiring a University degree higher than a Bachelor's degree. Also telling on this chart is that over 18,000 of the certified PERM applications were for people currently in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, a work visa for professional positions that require at least a Bachelor's degree in a particular field for entry into that occupation. Only 3,500 applications were for workers with education less than a University degree.

This data shows that our employer-sponsored green card process leads to a more highly-educated, skilled workforce filling professional positions for which no (or not enough) U.S. workers are qualified and/or available.

Michelle Gee is a founding partner of Seaport Law Group. Michelle Gee has been practicing immigration law for over fifteen years, and has handled many PERM applications and employer-sponsored green cards. Any of the partners at Seaport Law Group can assist you with your employment-based green card.

Employment-Based Green Cards / by Michelle Gee