The process for obtaining permanent residence based on employment is normally comprised of three phases: labor certification, visa petition, and the application for permanent residence. This section of our website explains the first phase. Click on Green Card to the left in order to obtain detailed information about the other two phases of the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has amended its regulations governing the filing and processing of labor certification applications for the permanent employment of aliens in the United States to implement a new system for filing and processing such applications. The Permanent Labor Certification Program, called PERM, went into effect March 28, 2005. The goal under PERM is to streamline and expedite the processing of labor certifications. Under PERM, the completion of the labor certification is expected to take 60 days or less. Please note however that some cases will undergo auditing and be subject to increased scrutiny. For this reason, our firm is here to assist employers in maintaining accurate records and ensure all the necessary steps have been properly completed. We have become very experienced in the PERM process. Our numerous approvals are evidence of our skill and our success in completing this process accurately and efficiently. We work to identify any potential problems up front. Common problems/issues include those related to the prevailing wage, experience gained on the job, education level required, and any special requirements as to the position. We will work with both employers and employees to resolve any problems at an early stage in the process.
A labor certification is a certification made by the United States Department of Labor that a shortage of qualified U.S. workers exists to fill the position held by the sponsored alien employee, and that the company will pay the employee the prevailing wage. The labor certification is valid only as long as terms remain unchanged; that is, the alien continues to work for the same employer. Based on the information we obtain from you, our office will draft the documentation necessary for this process.
The first step involved in the process of sponsoring an employee for legal permanent residence is to obtain labor certification from the Department of Labor. This involves identifying and evaluating the sufficiency of the sponsoring company’s recent recruitment efforts including published advertisements, Internet ads, college recruitment, job fair participation, and employee referral bonuses, just to name a few. Should sufficient recruitment efforts exist, the case will be filed under the new PERM regulations with a significantly faster processing time. If the employer's recent recruitment efforts are insufficient to comply with the regulations, we can guide the employer's future recruitment efforts in order to allow the employer to sponsor the employee.
The sponsoring company will need to undertake several forms of recruitment during the six months prior to filing an application for labor certification. For a professional position, there are four mandatory requirements.
The company’s recruitment efforts must include:
1. Two Sunday advertisements placed in a major local newspaper;
2. Posting notice of the job opportunity on the company premises for 10 consecutive business days ;
3. Placing a job order with the State Workforce Commission for 30 days; and
4. Obtaining a prevailing wage determination from the State Workforce Commission.
In addition, the sponsoring company must undertake at least three of the following:
5. Participating in a job fair;
6. Posting the position on the employer’s website;
7. Use of a job search website other than the employer’s;
8. On-campus recruiting;
9. Recruitment through trade or professional organizations;
10. Use of private employment firms;
11. Use of an employee referral program with incentives;
12. Posting notice of the job opening at a campus placement office if the job requires a degree but no experience;
13. Advertisement in local and ethnic newspapers; or
14. Radio and television
The sponsoring employer should be able to demonstrate that qualified U.S. applicants are in short supply. The employer must demonstrate shortage on a case-by-case basis. Based upon the recruitment efforts of the sponsoring company, our office will draft a letter generally in collaboration with the employer’s Human Resources department and will specify:
15. The number of job openings;
16. The number of résumés received;
17. The number of openings remaining;
18. Brief grounds for rejection of unqualified workers; and
19. That old résumés will be kept until the case is concluded.
Once all of these steps are accomplished, we will then electronically file the labor certification application. The expected processing time for electronically filed applications under PERM is 45 to 60 days. Under the previous system, the processing time was anywhere from one to three years. The application may be subject to an audit, which can increase the expected processing time.
Please note that applying for a labor certification does not bind the employer legally. The employer remains free to dismiss the employee or to take other personnel action as it would with regard to any other employee. Also, the employer may withdraw the labor certification application at any time.
On the other hand, the application does not bind the employee to the employer either. However, it is important, before expending great amounts of time and effort that the employee is sure that there is relative job stability and that the employee will be remaining with the employer at least until the whole process has been completed.