Prevailing wage determinations for PERM labor certification cases are experiencing significant delays. In particular, requests based on private wage surveys are backlogged several weeks beyond the Labor Department’s stated processing times.

Key points:

  • The department’s stated processing time for prevailing-wage requests in PERM cases is approximately four months. (As of Oct. 1, the agency was processing initial and redetermination requests filed in June).
  • According to B·A·L’s internal case tracking, employers who submit prevailing wage requests based on private wage surveys are waiting four to six weeks longer than the stated processing time in PERM cases. Some requests have been pending since May.
  • The Labor Department appears to be operating a two-track review: one for prevailing wage requests based on DOL wage surveys and another for requests based on private wage surveys.

Background: Employers are required to obtain a prevailing wage determination from the Labor Department before filing a PERM labor certification application to sponsor a foreign national employee. The employer must offer at least the prevailing wage. Employers may use private wage surveys rather than the Labor Department’s wage data to support a prevailing wage request, but private surveys must meet stringent regulatory requirements.

B·A·L Analysis: Employers with pending PERM cases should anticipate delays in obtaining a prevailing wage determination. Employers with new PERM cases should work with their B·A·L legal team to determine the best strategies in conducting recruitment and requesting prevailing-wage determinations going forward.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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