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Immigration Daily April 28, 2005
Previous Issues
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The End Of PERM?

DOL released "Version 1.00" of its "Permanent Online System User Guide". This 50-page document dashes all hope of a fast, internet-based PERM processing system. Here's why.

  • Firstly, the online PERM system demands, in effect, that its users learn to use what amounts to a complicated Case Management software program. Approximately 75% of attorneys across the country today do not use a Case Management program, and they are unlikely to start now. Employers are even less likely to want to learn to use a complex Case Management software program, especially if they only file one or just a few labor certification applications per year. The PERM internet site has to be used by employers first, before they set up "sub-accounts" for a lawyer. Attorneys cannot help clients set up a user account from the attorney's computer, since the cookie DOL places likely recognizes which computer was used when opening an employer account, and DOL appears to believe that employers and their counsel cannot share a computer. In other words, if you want to invite your employer-client to your office, to ensure that the user account established by the employer is done properly and in your presence, you will likely not be able to log in as attorney from that same computer. Perhaps DOL will change the way its cookies behave, we will have to wait and see.
  • Secondly, the PERM internet software program is especially user-unfriendly. The user un-friendliness manifests itself at two levels. One is the "security" system, another is the form itself. On the form, attorneys by now are already familiar with the 9089 form, a veritable monster in comparision to the familiar 750A and 750B forms. Quite apart from the inherent complexity of the new form and the new rule, the implementation (based on screen shots in the User Guide) will likely daunt all but the really tech-savvy users. The multiple steps, "tips", "notes", "?"s, buttons, etc are enough to confuse even determined applicants. The security system sets up separate passwords for employers and attorneys (each of whom receives a "temporary" password that must be changed to activate the system), which must each have 8-15 characters in one case WITHOUT special characters, and in another case WITH special characters and a numeral!
  • Thirdly, in the event that anyone overwhelmed by the complexity and hi-tech nature of this form requests assistance from someone who is more tech-literate, the PERM website discourages visitors with a pop up window from its home page saying " ... Unauthorized access or use of this system for any purpose other than official government business is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both .. " It will be difficult for attorneys and employers to obtain needed technical help with that window popping up any time a friendly soul decides to give a bewildered applicant or his/her counsel a helping hand.

We could go on and on, but we trust the point is clear. The PERM online application system is difficult to use, and it is unlikely that many folks will be brave enough and persistent enough to use it. Immigration attorneys are known to be a smart tech-savvy bunch, and it is also true that large/hi-tech employers are frequent users of the labor cert system, so some attorneys will gradually figure this system out and actually get approvals this way. However, we are convinced that in the next 12 months, at least 50% of the applications for labor certification will be mailed-in.

Perhaps realizing this, DOL is stepping up efforts to deter attorneys from filing mailed-in applications, threatening that the mailed-in applications will take longer to process. In view of the non-alternative, to most attorneys, of the user-unfriendly PERM system, there may be little choice but to file a mailed-in application. After all, how are attorneys supposed to handle the situation when employers cannot navigate the PERM system to establish an account for them?

There are two advantages to filing a mailed-in application. One, the attorney and employer can delegate the task of filling out the incredibly complicated on-line form to DOL staff, who will almost certainly be better at it than them, for the simple reason that they will be doing plenty of data-entry and will learn how to use the 9089 form much faster than any attorney or employer. Second, there are only two things that will likely occur (in most instances) to the mailed-in form in the worst case, from the attorney perspective, and both of these things are preferable to the on-line system. Either attorneys filing manually will receive a written final determination as "denied", so they can then take appeal before BALCA; Or, DOL may, using its power under 20 CFR 656.20(d)(1), ask for supplemental information to help DOL staff input the form correctly. Both of these latter alternatives, being familiar to attorneys, are preferable to struggling endlessly with the PERM online system.

We encourage labor cert practitioners to take a look at DOL's "Permanent Online System User Guide" and decide for themselves how they wish to proceed with filing applications. Perhaps we will be proved wrong, and we hope that practioners successful in securing PERM certifications online will take credit for their tech and legal skills by writing about their success to Immigration Daily.

We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to



Attorneys will need all the help they can get to get a grip over PERM. To assist attorneys with PERM, ILW.COM is pleased to offer the following:

  • THE PERM BOOK: Labor Certification by Joel Stewart: This definitive, information-packed book is about to go to press. For more info, see here.
  • The PERM Workshop in Salt Lake City: This all-day, intensive workshop is designed to give attorneys a turbo-boost with PERM. For more info, see here.
  • Fully Indexed PERM Rule by P. J. Patel: This handy book will help attorneys navigating thru the rule. For more info, see here.

Stay tuned for more PERM-related announcements soon to come from ILW.COM!


Allowing Alternative Experience Requirements: How PERM Adopted The Kellogg Standard
Elizabeth T. Reichard examines the prior and current practices of the Department of Labor with regard to considering alternative experience qualifications in the labor certification process.

Keep on top of the latest in immigration law! Attend ILW.COM seminars! You can attend ILW.COM phone seminars from the convenience of your office! For more info on the seminars currently available, please click here:


DOL Issues PERM Online System Guide
The Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor issued a PERM online user guide with information on accessing the system, managing user profile and user accounts, and submitting PERM cases.

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Help Wanted: Immigration Attorney
Microsoft Corporation has an immediate opportunity in our dynamic team in the Law and Corporate Affairs Department in Redmond, Washington. The position requires excellent academic credentials, 4-6 years experience in all nonimmigrant business visas, labor certifications, and other business-related immigration matters. Strong case management, communication and writing skills are required. Must be customer-service focused and able to thrive in a challenging and fast-paced environment. Prior experience managing legal staff and proficiency with Microsoft technology a plus. Microsoft offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits and casual workplace environment. Please submit your response in Word format to Please indicate job code N145-122703 in the subject line. Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer (EOE) and strongly supports diversity in the workplace.

Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. seeks an immigration paralegal for its Washington, DC office. Position requires a BA and 1-2 years of business immigration experience, including preparation of nonimmigrant petitions, labor certifications and immigrant petitions. Must have strong writing skills. Foreign language a plus, but not required. Qualified applicants should send cover letter, resume + writing sample to Betsy Taylor, Office Administrator by fax (202) 220-2235 or email at: No phone calls please. EOE/M/F/H/D/V.

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Dear Editor:
While Mr. Levin's article (4/27/05 ID) seems well written and supplies numerous quotes and cites underscoring his theory, I for one can only say in response: Thank God for the Justices and an independant Judiciary. At least there are some brave enough to see what such thinking represents, zenophobia, pure and simple.. Extrapolating such thinking as found in Mr. Levin's article, the U.S. never would have passed the Civil Rights Act (ie; The Court's use of the Commerce Clause to strike down racism and discrimination in the separate States, etc.) Unfortunately, I fear that the article's self proclaimed "Justice Wednesday" spreads like a cancer, and those least capable of defending themselves will be the victims. Of particular note is the article's use of the ever present "09/11/2001" as the raison d'etre for all this zenophobic hysteria and Court bashing.. ....enough already. This is just an extension of Senator Frist's and other extemist Republicans' deplorable antics last Sunday. I'd love to see Mr. Levin's article regarding the Separation of Church and State, another Constitutionally mandated requirement which seems to be falling by the wayside very quickly, particularly when the recent Terry Schiavo issue underscored the hypocritical nature of the articles' theory.. that activist judges are ruining the U.S. Can you tell me with a straight face that the Republican Senators who passed the Terry Schiavo law were not hoping to get an "activist judge" for their side? Shame on them.

Tristan Bourgoignie, Esq.

Dear Editor:
Mike's letter (4/21/05 ID) appears to have so much hostility against immigrants. I have been living here for 20 years, and I am still waiting for my residency. It is not my problem that the immigration programs are screwed up and not made up fairly. The guest worker is the best thing for me, so before one knows of a person's situation, one should not talk. USCIS takes like 10 years to process a case, so one needs to understand what is going on with our cases before talking anything negative about it.

Liz Saado

An Important disclaimer! The information provided on this page is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. Copyright 1999-2005 American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM. Send correspondence and articles to Letters and articles may be edited and may be published and otherwise used in any medium. The views expressed in letters and articles do not necessarily represent the views of ILW.COM or members of the Immigration Daily Advisory Board. The opinions expressed in the Comment section are those of ILW.COM and Immigration Daily and do not necessarily represent the views of the members of the Immigration Daily Advisory Board.

Publisher:  Sam Udani    Legal Editor:  Michele Kim

Advisory Board:   Marc Ellis, Gary Endelman