Department of Labor Publishes Request for Information on PERM Schedule A Revisions

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Following President Bident’s Executive Order, the Department of Labor seeks public input on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations and non-STEM occupations with an insufficient number of qualified and available US workers in order to update the Schedule A.

The Schedule A is a list of occupations with insufficient US workers who are able, willing, qualified and available to meet employment needs. Occupations listed on the Schedule A are pre-certified by the DOL to have insufficient US workers, allowing employers who wish to hire immigrants for these occupations to file labor certification applications and petitions directly with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, bypassing the required recruitment that non-Schedule A occupations must participate in to ensure that jobs offered to immigrants do not negatively impact the US workforce.

The Schedule A has not been updated since 2004 or comprehensively examined in 30 years. With current wait times of 18 months and counting for PERM processing, this update has the potential to significantly ease the burden placed on employers, immigrants and their families while they wait for PERM adjudication.

The public is highly encouraged to respond to this Request for Information. The Department invites general comments and suggestions concerning:

(A) whether any STEM occupations should be added to Schedule A, and why; and

(B) defining and determining which occupations should be considered as falling under the umbrella of STEM, and why.

The Department is also specifically seeking input on the following questions:

  1. Besides the Occupational Employment Wage Statistics (OEWS), American Community Survey (ACS), and Current Population Survey (CPS), what other appropriate sources of data are available that can be used to determine or forecast potential labor shortages for STEM occupations by occupation and geographic area?
  2. What methods are available that can be used alone, or in conjunction with other methods, to measure presence and severity of labor shortages for STEM occupations by occupation and geographic area?
  3. How could the Department establish a reliable, objective, and transparent methodology for identifying STEM occupations with significant shortages of workers that should be added to Schedule A?
  4. Should the STEM occupations potentially added to Schedule A be limited to those OEWS occupations used in most of the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publications, or should the STEM occupations be expanded to include additional occupations that cover Skilled Technical Workforce (STW) occupations?
  5. Beyond the parameters discussed for STW occupations, should the Department expand Schedule A to include other non-STEM occupations? If so, what should the Department consider to establish a reliable, objective, and transparent methodology for identifying non-STEM occupations with a significant shortage of workers that should be added to or removed from Schedule A?


Written comments are due on or before February 20, 2024. Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Make sure to include the docket number ETA–2023–0006 in your comments. To the extent possible and wherever appropriate, responses to this RFI should indicate the question number(s) and include specific information, data, statistical models and metrics, and any resources relied on in reaching conclusions for its claims, rather than relying on general observations. All comments received will be posted without change.

Written by Brittany Barnett, Law Clerk at USILAW

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