Employers submitting a PERM application for the first time might be surprised by some of the requirements. One of these surprising requirements is the posting of a job listing in the weekend edition of a local newspaper for two straight weeks. Not only does it have to be a local newspaper, it must be a local newspaper with broad circulation—which is to say that everyone in the locality must be made aware of the available job listing at the company. At first glance this is an odd requirement, not least of all because we live in a digital age and fewer and fewer people now read the weekly newspaper.
While it is true that the DOL plans to change recruitment policy in the next few years, until these changes are made employers will have to abide by the local circulation policy.
Keeping Things Local is Part of PERM
Upon closer inspection, the use of newspaper job listings actually makes sense. PERM was set up before the era of digital media took hold. Prior to digital job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn, finding work in the back of newspapers was quite common. Unemployed individuals would check the job listings each week and contact the businesses that had openings.
Even though it does not seem relevant today, the popular use of newspaper job listings explains why PERM asks for locally circulated newspapers. Prior to digital job searches, it would only be possible for unemployed individuals to find work in their local community by checking the newspaper. If they wanted to move across the country for work they would have to move first and find work second. This is the main reason PERM requires local circulation: it is how people used to look for jobs, and so employers looking to hire new people must follow common procedure.
It makes sense. Without a strict recruitment policy, it would be far too easy for employers to hire an alien. PERM recruitment ads are the main way for domestic workers to see what jobs are being advertised.
PERM Is Meant To Keep Local Communities Strong
A second major reason local circulation is important has to do with the identity of the company in its community. PERM was established to keep the local fabric of company towns intact. Many companies have their headquarters in relatively small townships, places where a job at the company pays the bills for a majority of the inhabitants. Letting these kinds of communities slip away by hiring foreigners is a real concern in the era of globalization. Circulating a job posting in the local community gives many people a chance to work close to their home. This kind of attitude toward work life is part of what makes the American labor force so strong. People are proud to work for companies as long as the companies respect them and provide adequate paying jobs.