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Bloggings On PERM Labor Certification

by Joel Stewart

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Joel Stewart's blog.

December 29, 2008

SVP Discrepancies by Lori Melton

Lori's article in the PERM Book II is actually entitled "SVP: Discrepancies between the O*Net and the DOT." Laurie explains that discrepancies between SVP determinations in the O*Net on-line database and the now-outdated Dictionary of Occupational Titles can best be understood by reviewing 11 occupations which are most often adjudicated by the Department of Labor in its PERM Determinations.

Some of the jobs Lori examined are the following. Please note that the O*Net and DOT Codes are actually groups of jobs which include

Software Engineers, O*Net 15-1031 and 15-1032 and DOT 030-062-010.

Electronics Engineers,  O*Net 17-2072 and DOT 003-061-030.

Electrical Engineers, O*Net 17-2071 and DOT 003-061-010.

Financial Analysts, O*Net 17-2071 and DOT 160-267-026.

Restaurant Cooks, O*Net 35-2104 and DOT 313.361-014.

Computer Systems Analysts, O*Net 15-1051 and DOT 030-162-014.

Computer & Information Systems Managers, O*Net 11-3021 and DOT 169.167-082

An informed practitioner or employer should be familiar with the DOT and O*Net classification systems.  Although previously available only in government publications, in today's electronic world they are easily found on-line. A review of the classifications reveals that they have been down-graded from a higher SVP to a lower SVP. The SVP categories refer to the total training time (Education, Training and Experience) required to perform the job duties. Under the O*Net all jobs are divided into Job Zone Levels which range from one to five. The most important levels are 3, 4, and 5.

Job Zone 1 = SVP below 4.0

Job Zone 2 = SVP 4.0 < 6.0

Job Zone 3 = SVP 6.0 < 7.0

Job Zone 4 = SVP 7.0 < 7,9

Job Zone 5 = SVP 8.0 and higher

Classifications under different systems may be "crosswalked" from one to the other. Note: See the crosswalk page at

Laurie explains that most job positions were downgraded during the transition.

"In a detailed review of the O*Net, few positions were found where the job requirements were actually increased as a result of the shift from the DOT SVP to the current interpretation of the O*Net Job Zones.  For example, Child, Family and School Social Worker (21-1021), which is a Job Zone 5 position, crosswalks to several DOT positions (Caseworker 195.107-010; Caseworker, Child Welfare 195.107-014; Caseworker, Family 195.107-018; Social Worker, Medical 195.107-030; and Social Worker, School 195.107-038) that were actually classified as SVP 7. "

"Several other positions experience similar SVP concerns.  However, the occupations chosen for analysis in this article reflect the most commonly filed occupations according to DOL.  Other occupations in industries of interest include: Chemical Plant & System Operators (51-8091) in Job Zone 2 which crosswalks to Chief Operator (558.260-010) with an SVP of 7; Dental Laboratory Technician (51-9081) in Job Zone 2 which crosswalks to several SVP 7 positions under the DOT (Dental-Laboratory Technician 712-381-018; Orthodontic Band Maker 712.381-026; and Dental Ceramist 712.381-042); Civil Drafters (17-3011.02) in Job Zone 3 which crosswalks to several SVP 7 positions in the DOT (Drafter, Civil 005.081-010; Drafter, Directional Survey 010.281.010; Drafter, Geophysical 010.281-018); Aviation Inspectors (53-6051.01) in Job Zone 3 that crosswalks to Inspector, Air Carrier 9168.264-010 with an SVP of 7 and Supervising Airplane Pilot (196.163-014) with an SVP of 8; Architectural Drafters (17-3011.01) in Job Zone 3 that crosswalks to several SVP 7 positions including Drafter, Architectural (001.261-010); Construction Managers (11-9021) in Job Zone 3 that crosswalks to Contractor (182.167-010) with an SVP of 7 and Landscape Contractor (182.167-014) with an SVP of 8; Radiologic Technologists (29-2034) in Job Zone 3 that crosswalks to Radiologic Technologist (078.362-026) with an SVP of 7; Chemists (19-2031) in Job Zone 4 which crosswalks to the SVP 8 position of Chemist (022.081-010); Microbiologist (19-1022) in Job Zone 4 which crosswalks to the SVP 8 position of Microbiologist (041.061-058)."

Laurie's article demonstrates that with the introduction of the PERM Rule, the transfer from DOT to O*Net resulted in a downgrade of minimum requirements for commonly offered  positions. The downgrade in SVP results in a downgrade in the Job Zone for each job. As Employers and their attorneys were accustomed to the values assigned by the DOT, the new PERM values were slowly adapted. From March 2005 until late 2007, the older values were frequently accepted by DOL, perhaps because they were familiar to stakeholders. However, in late 2007, DOL started to apply the new training times more rigorously, resulting in extensive audits. In turn, the audits resulted in delays in processing, and PERM processing times are beginning to resemble more and more the pre-PERM processing backlogs.