Requesting Permanent Labor Certification: ETA Form 9089

Planning to apply for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence) as a foreign worker in the United States? Your employer will have to submit ETA Form 9089 and have it approved in order for you to apply for a green card on the basis of that job.

By , Attorney · Capital University Law School

If you are planning to apply for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence) as a foreign worker in the United States, you might have heard of "ETA Form 9089." This form is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to replace an earlier one called "ETA Form 750." It is the Application for Permanent Employment Certification that your prospective employer (or current employer, if you're already working on a temporary visa such as an H-1B) will need to submit and have approved in order for you to apply for a green card on the basis of that job.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about ETA Form 9089, with answers to help you understand the process.

What Is ETA Form 9089 Used For?

ETA Form 9089 is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to allow employers to seek what is known as "permanent labor certification" for a prospective employee. It is not the first step in the process of obtaining a green card for a non-U.S. worker; that would be for the employer to get what's called a prevailing wage determination (PWD), also from the DOL. See Timeline of the U.S. Labor Certification Process for an overview.

But once the employer has obtained the PWD, and gone through a careful process of advertising and recruiting for the job the foreign national is being offered, which process culminates in the employer determining that there are no qualified U.S. workers willing and available to take this particular job, the employer will fill out and submit Form 9089 to the DOL.

If all goes well, the DOL will issue a permanent labor certification in response. That allows the employer to submit a petition on the foreign national's behalf to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Form I-140. If and when an I-140 petition is approved on your behalf, you will be allowed to go forward with your own portion of the application for a U.S. green card (although some people may be able to submit both forms concurrently).

What Information Does ETA Form 9089 Ask For?

You can have a look at Form 9089 online yourself at the Department of Labor website. As you'll see, your U.S. employer will be required to disclose information regarding its identity as well as yours; the wage it plans to offer; the recruitment process it followed in order to determine that no qualified U.S. workers could be found to take the job; a description of the requirements for and the terms of your employment; and a detailed history of your qualifications.

The employer will need, with your help, to provide specifications on your work experience, background training, educational attainment, any certifications you received, and the skills and experience that make you well-suited for the job. You'll need to sign the form declaring that the information you provided is truthful.

How Does an Employer File ETA Form 9089?

The employer has the option to file the form electronically or by mail, but the DOL much prefers online filing. No fee is required.

Your employer will not be required to submit any documents with the form. However, it must keep its supporting documents on hand, in case of an audit; meaning a full review by the DOL.

What Happens After an ETA Form 9089 Application Is Filed?

The DOL will process the application. This often takes several months. Approval means that the DOL certifies that no qualified U.S. applicants are able to handle and available for the job and that hiring a foreign national employee will not affect the working conditions and wages of U.S. employees.

After the Form 9089 is approved by the DOL, your employer can submit Form I-140 to USCIS on your behalf for approval.

For successful filing of ETA Form 9089, and for help with advertising, recruitment, and other parts of the process of getting you a green card, it would be best for your employer to consult a reputable immigration lawyer.

You might also wish to separately consult an attorney if you have questions about your green card eligibility that you're uncomfortable discussing with your employer's attorney. The attorney will walk your employer and you through the process step by step, to improve your chances of approval from the Department of Labor.

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