For the majority of employees in the US with employment-based visas, to secure a green card they must be sponsored by an employer through the PERM process. The PERM process is long and multi-faceted. The PERM process is fundamentally a labor market test where the employer demonstrates that the sponsored foreign national employee is qualified for a sponsored position and that the employer could not find a US citizen or permanent resident that met all of the qualifications of the sponsored position.
The process breaks down as follows:
Step 1: Employer chooses to sponsor an individual for a green card.
The attorneys review the job description of the sponsored position and the credentials of the employee to ensure that the employee meets the qualifications of the position.
Step 2: Employer files a Prevailing Wage Request with Department of Labor.
We will file a Prevailing Wage Request with the Department of Labor, providing a complete job description and set of job requirements for the sponsored position. The DOL will determine what the prevailing wage is. The employer must agree to pay this wage to the sponsored employee when the green card is awarded.
Step 3: Recruitment in various media sources.
The employer must conduct a recruitment process that takes as little as two and as long as six months.
Mandatory recruitment steps:
- 30 day posting with state workforce agency
- Two Sunday ads in largest local newspaper
- Internal posting notice at employer’s office for 10 consecutive business days
Three of the following discretionary recruitment steps:
- Radio or television ad
- Employer’s website
- Job search website
- Local newspaper
- Campus recruitment
- Job fair
- Employee referral program
- Private employment firm
- Trade or professional organization
- Campus placement office
Step 4: File PERM with Department of Labor.
Upon completion of the recruitment, if no applicants meet the qualifications for the sponsored position the employer can file a PERM with the Department of Labor. The PERM summarizes the job opportunity, the recruitment steps, and the foreign national employee’s qualifications for the position.
Step 5: File I-140 with US Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Upon certification of the PERM by the Department of Labor the employer can submit an I-140 with the USCIS. The I-140 declares the employee’s immigrant intent to become a permanent resident. The I-140 demonstrates the employee’s qualifications for the sponsored position and the employer’s ability to pay the wage offered to the employee.
Step 6: File I-485 with US Citizenship and Immigration Service.
When the employee’s priority date is current, as determined by the US Department of State, the employee can submit an I-485 for a physical green card. At that time the employee’s spouse and children under 21 can also file I-485’s for physical green cards.