PERM FAQ – Alien Experience – 7/28/2014

Where on the ETA Form 9089 should I enter the foreign worker’s qualifications, such as certifications, licensure, or other credentials, to show that he/she meets the actual minimum requirements?

ETA must assess whether the foreign worker possesses all the qualifications for the employer’s job opportunity.

When the employer lists specific skills and other requirements for the job opportunity in Section H, Question 14, the employer must also demonstrate on the ETA Form 9089 that the foreign worker possesses those skills and

In order to do so, the employer should list separately in Section K all the foreign worker’s qualifications, such as certificates, licenses, professional coursework, or other credentials that meet the requirements to perform the job opportunity listed in Section H, if those qualifications have not already been explicitly identified under information about the jobs held in the past three years.

If not listed elsewhere, the list of certificates, licenses, professional coursework, or other credentials held by the foreign worker and required in order to perform the job opportunity, should be entered after all jobs held in the past three years are listed, under Question 9, “Job Details (duties performed, use of tools, machines, equipment, etc.)”;

Question Numbers 1-8 requesting information about the job can be left blank.

For example, assume a situation in which the foreign worker has had two jobs in the last three years, and holds a license required to perform the employer’s job opportunity that he or she obtained in the last three years through a course of study not undertaken in connection with either job.

The employer should complete Section K, Question Numbers 1-9 for Job 1 and Question Numbers 1-9 for Job 2.

If the required license is not explicitly stated in information provided under Job 1 or Job 2 in Section K because it was not obtained performing either job, the employer must list the license since it demonstrates the foreign worker meets the requirements to perform the job opportunity under Job 3, Question 9.

The employer may leave blank Question Numbers 1-8 on Job 3.

Examples of certifications, licensure, or other credentials that must be provided in Section K if relevant to the foreign worker’s qualifications include, but are not limited to, bar admission, medical residency, ordination, professional exams, certifications such as medical Board certifications or other professional certifications, teaching certificates, university or professional coursework, and professional insurance.

The employer must be prepared to demonstrate the business necessity of each and every special skill or requirement listed in Section H.

Such qualifications must be listed on any application submitted on or after the date of posting of this FAQ.


Note that the PERM online system generates an error message when attempting to file with Questions 1-8 left blank for a Section K entry.

OFLC has advised that “the application will not be denied as a result of receiving the error message and ignoring it in this specific circumstance, nor will it be audited for this issue.”

OFLC further confirmed that practitioners have the option of entering “N/A”, a dash, or text such as “non-work license” to avoid the error message, and that doing so will not result in a denial or audit (unless the text is not clear and OFLC needs clarification), but that entering such text is not necessary.

OFLC explained that it cannot turn off the error messages on the form because the system cannot distinguish between a Section K entry providing documentation of certifications, licensure and similar credentials, and a Section K entry for qualifying employment, for which the information requested in Question Numbers 1-8 is required.

Note that Section K on ETA Form 9089 will not save a “job” with any blanks by clicking the “Add This Alien Experience” button. However, you should be able to save the Section K entry by clicking the “Save as Draft” button at the very bottom of the page below all the other job entries.

Notwithstanding this instruction, you may be unable to save the ETA 9089 as a draft if Questions 1-8 are left blank, and have also noted that questions 6-8 require an entry that is a specific date or number. If you encounter this issue, the following is a possible workaround:

For Questions 1-5, enter “N/A”
For Question 6 (Start Date), enter “01/01/0001”
For Question 7 (End Date), enter “01/01/0001”
For Question 8 (Hours per Week), enter “0”
For Question 9, enter in free text form the license, credential or other qualification demonstrating the PERM beneficiary’s qualifications for the job.

This should allow the form to be saved and eliminates the error messages, but keeps the licensure or other credential as the last entry in Section K. It also makes it evident on the form that you are entering a license or other credential, not an employment entry.

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