The US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office for Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is responsible for issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWD) and permanent labor certifications (PERM) for foreign workers. You are able to check the processing times for your case through the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG). The processing times for both PWD and PERM vary depending on caseload and other factors. Here’s how to check on current processing times.
What is the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG)?
The Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) is the system for submitting labor certification and prevailing wage applications and communicating with OFLC throughout the application process. All decisions on those applications are issued electronically to filers and partner agencies via FLAG.
What is a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD)?
Under US Immigration Law, the hiring of a foreign worker should not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US workers comparably employed. In order to comply with this law and protect the wages of US workers, the DOL requires that the wages offered to a foreign worker must be the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment. The prevailing wage rate is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment. You can think of this as the minimum wage for a foreign worker.
What is a Labor Condition Application (LCA)?
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) is required for all PERM applications, H-1B visas, and E-3 visas. The LCA ensures that the foreign worker is being paid a wage that is at least equivalent to either the actual wage rate (the rate the employer pays to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications who are performing the same job) or, the prevailing wage.
How long does it take for an LCA to process?
LCAs are reviewed by the DOL within seven (7) working days for completeness and obvious errors or inaccuracies.
What is the Permanent Labor Certification Process (PERM)?
Similar to the PWD, the Permanent Labor Certification Process (PERM) allows a US employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. The PERM process certifies to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that there are not sufficient US workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers. Upon approval of the PERM (ETA 9089) the employer is able to move forward with filing an I-140 Petition with USCIS for permanent employment.
What are the current processing times for a PWD and PERM?
The OFLC provides a monthly update on the processing times for both PWD and PERM applications on their website. You can find the link to the current processing times under “Additional Outside Resources” below.
How do I track the progress of my LCA, PWD, or PERM?
You are able to track the progress of your PWD or ETA 9089 through the OFLC “Case Status Search” below. You will need your ETA Case Number to track your case. For example G-100-12345-123456
Additional Outside Resources
- USDOL: PWD and PERM Processing Times
- USDOL: Case Status Search
- USDOL: Permanent Labor Certification
- USDOL: Prevailing Wages
- USDOL: Labor Condition Application
- USCIS: Form I-140
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