On March 25, 2020, the Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification began sending approved permanent labor certifications by email, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 25, 2020, OFLC "announced that it is permanently adopting the electronic issuance of PERM labor certifications to employers (and their authorized attorneys or agents)." After receiving the certified Form ETA-9089 by email, the form must be printed, and then signed and dated by each of the following prior to filing the Form I-140 with USCIS: the foreign worker, preparer (if applicable), and the employer. USCIS may consider this printed Form ETA-9089, containing all signatures, as satisfying the requirement that petitioners provide evidence of an original labor certification issued by DOL.
OFLC posted the following news item on its website:
September 25, 2020. OFLC Announces Permanent Issuance of Electronic PERM Labor Certifications
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) announced that it is permanently adopting the electronic issuance of PERM labor certifications to employers (and their authorized attorneys or agents).
On March 24, 2020, OFLC announced that—due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—that it would electronically issue PERM labor certifications to employers (and their authorized attorneys or agents) through June 30, 2020. On June 16, 2020, OFLC announced that it was extending the period during which it would electronically issue PERM labor certifications through September 30, 2020.
On July 30, 2020, the Department of Labor (Department) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Among other things, the MOA provides DHS access to all applications for permanent labor certification submitted to OFLC through the PERM online system, including the ability to verify that a PERM application has been certified. The enhanced information sharing and collaboration under the MOA also eliminates the need for duplicate certification requests and increases the integrity of the PERM program by supporting efforts to combat instances of fraud and abuse in connection with labor certification and employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant programs.
DHS regulations require that—in order to file a USCIS Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—employers must concurrently submit an original labor certification issued by the Department, unless the original labor certification was already provided to USCIS in support of a different petition.
When a permanent labor certification was granted in the past, OFLC would send the original certified ETA Form 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification, and a Final Determination letter on "security paper" to the employer (or their authorized attorney/agent). To be valid, a certified ETA Form 9089 must contain the following completed sections:
- Section O - Signed and dated by the OFLC Certifying Officer;
- Section L - Signed and dated by the foreign worker;
- Section M - Signed and dated by the form preparer, if applicable; and
- Section N - Signed and dated by the employer; and
- Footer on each page identifying the validity period of the certification.
The employer (or their authorized attorney/agent) then would submit the original signed paper ETA Form 9089, along with the USCIS Form I-140 and all other supporting documentation and appropriate fees, to USCIS.
As of March 24, 2020, employers (or their authorized attorney/agent) who file a PERM application and are granted a permanent labor certification by OFLC have received the certified ETA Form 9089 and Final Determination letter by email. In circumstances where employers (or their authorized attorneys or agents) submit the application for permanent labor certification by mail and are not able to receive the certified ETA Form 9089 documents by email, OFLC has and will continue to send the original security paper ETA Form 9089 and Final Determination letter by mail. At this time, OFLC expects to continue using UPS regular delivery to send the documents (i.e., approximately 2 to 8 days depending on delivery location).
Before filing a Form I-140 with USCIS, the electronic copy of the certified ETA Form 9089 that is provided by OFLC via email, must be printed, and signed and dated in the appropriate sections by the:
- Foreign worker;
- Preparer (if applicable); and
Important Reminder: To ensure receipt of electronic permanent labor certification documents and all other correspondence from the Atlanta National Processing Center, OFLC reminds stakeholders to add
[email protected]to their address book or "safe list" within email system(s) to avoid being filtered as spam.