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Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification

States Receive Federal Grants to Process PERM Applications

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Have you ever wondered about the separation between State and Federal Governments in the context of PERM applications?

PERM is a federal law and a federal program that occurs in the federal environment. However, the States are called upon to provide services for in-state PERM processing. The states assist employers to place 30-day job orders as part of the recruitment effort and to prepare prevailing wage determinations for job offers.

The Federal Government also requires State assistance for H-1, H-2 and E-3 visas. Each SWA has an Annual Plan that must be submitted with required information to obtain Federal funds to support the work required for the Federal PERM and visa programs.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification publishes a document called Foreign Labor Certification Grant Guidance (TEGL) and the States must agree to be bound by and comply with the terms and agreements of the TEGL.

To obtain grant money, SWA's have to submit proposals identifying how program funds would best be utilized and by splitting the grant allocation between agricultural and non-agricultural activities. The SWAs must also inform the National Office via written communication of the proposed program split that will be used to allocate funds between agricultural and non-agricultural activities.

Wagner-Peyser Funding allocations for 2009 were estimated at $15,129,000 consistent with federal legislation. Of this amount, $95,000 was retained at the National Office for discretionary activities. The remaining disbursement was $15,034,000.

SWA Responsibilities include the following:

(1) Certification and Assurances. Regulations require recipients of SWA grants to submit various standard certifications and assurances.

(2) Utilize Mandated Forms for Inter-Agency Communications. SWAs must utilize the proper format to ensure uniform communications. These forms include, but may not be limited to, the following: Form ETA-232 (Domestic Agricultural In-Season Wage Report); Form ETA-232A (Wage Survey Interview Record); Other ETA forms that contain a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number and expiration date; ETA-9130(Financial Status Report on a quarterly basis); ETA-9127 (Quarterly Activity report).

Funding for states varied, for example, from a low of $66,295 for Puerto Rico and $70,715 for Alaska to a high of $1,364,539 for New York and 2,415,253 for California. Other states include Florida, $582,209; Illinois $420,659; Massachusetts $766,566; New Jersey $599,434; Ohio, $202,939; Virginia, $842,627, and Texas $936,362.

The SWAs are generally required to provide data about the number of job orders for H-2A temporary labor certification applications, H-2B temporary non-agricultural labor certification, total number of prevailing wages for agricultural activities and non-agricultural activities, broken down into PERM, H-1B, H-2B, H-1B1, and E-3.

Please note that since the SWAs must use Federal OMB forms, which are approved by the Office of Management and Budgetand are valid until the expiration date listed on the forms, modification of such forms or the use of forms created by or customized by the SWAs is illegal.

Since the SWA's are acting as agents of the Federal Government, Employers should always check communications from SWAs to see that they are in compliance with Federal laws and the conditions of the Wagner-Peyser funding grants.

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