How Soon Will You Get a Green Card? Reading the Crystal Ball of Labor Certification Processing Statstics

The US Department of Labor just posted their recent PERM Labor Certification processing statistics. While most people may find this kind of information good for curing insomnia, this information is also indicative of larger processing trends that affect how soon you will meet your professional and personal goals, by obtaining permanent residence status in the US. For example:

1. Of the almost 68,000 PERM labor certification applications filed, 52% had minimum educational requirements of a master’s degree or equivalent, meaning the application will fall into the EB-2 category at the I-140 stage of the permanent residence process.

Clearly more and more people are filing in the EB-2 category. This is likely a combination of employers filing for their relatively recent hires who are US-master’s degree holders, as well as applicants who perhaps have already filed an EB-3 petition, and are “upgrading” to EB-2 based on their experience and/or education, acquired since the time of the initial labor certification filing. The fact that more people are filing in EB-2 means applicants in this category will have increasingly longer waits for permanent residence. Remember, your priority date (the date the labor certification is filed) determines how soon you will receive a green card. Therefore the sooner you start the process, the sooner you will receive a green card. Start the process today to claim your place in line! (For more information on priority dates, see

2. Approximately 15% of the cases already processed were denied.

3. Approximately 45% of the cases in process right now are in audit stage.

Points two and three are indicative of the perilous nature of labor certification filing these days. While the PERM process has always had pitfalls and triggers for delay, the process is becoming ever more stringent, with new requirements and policies popping up all the time. It is absolutely critical that the attorney you select to handle your or your employees’ PERM labor certification process is up-to-date on the latest changes and can draft labor certification processes that meet all requirements and reduces the chances of a denial or audit while filing the application as quickly as possible.

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