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What is a Schedule A job classification? What are the profession categories that do not require a labor certification to sponsor an employee for a green card?

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At the time of writing, Nurses and physical therapists are the only two jobs that categorically qualify for a “fast-track” process to an employer-sponsored green card, known as “Schedule A” designation. This means the Department of Labor has pre-certified nurses and physical therapists as jobs where, as a categorical matter, there are insufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and the working conditions of U.S. workers will not be adversely affected by employing foreign nationals in these jobs.

This allows applicants for nurse and physical therapist positions to bypass the time-consuming and onerous part of the labor certification process that requires U.S. employers to recruit locally and “test the labor market” to prove that no other minimally qualified U.S. workers are available to take the job. This means employers do not have to go through the Department of Labor to certify their recruitment normally required for sponsorship. Instead, employers can apply directly to USCIS.

Does Schedule A designation exempt petitioners from all aspects of the labor certification requirement?

Petitioners for Schedule A positions are exempt from engaging in the recruitment and certification process through Department of Labor, but not all requirements are waived. Employers are still subject to the notice requirement and a prevailing wage requirement.

  • The employer must post a notice announcing that an “application for permanent employment certification” for the relevant job opportunity is to be filed, which must be provided to the representative of the union, if applicable, in addition to being posted at a conspicuous place at the worksite for at least 10 business days.
  • The employer must obtain a “prevailing wage determination” from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC), and must pay this prevailing wage to the foreign worker.

Does the beneficiary need to have a US license to qualify?

  • For physical therapist positions, the beneficiary must obtain a letter from the licensing authority of the state of intended employment in the U.S. confirming that the beneficiary is qualified to take that state’s licensing examination. The beneficiary need not have actually obtained the license prior to applying.
  • For nurse positions, the beneficiary must either have a Certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS); or a license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment; or have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

In sum, nurses and physical therapists can take advantage of a facilitated pathway for employer-sponsored green cards. This is also referred to as Schedule A “Group I” designation. For other categories of professions, Schedule A “Group II” classification is available for individuals who have exceptional ability in their fields in the arts, science, or performing arts, which offers the same advantage of bypassing the Department of Labor’s recruitment and certification process. This is a separate option from the National Interest Waiver, a well-known pathway through which petitioners can be exempt from the requirement for a job offer altogether.

Take a look at the resources below to find out more about the diverse strategies available for employment based green cards.

Related posts:

PERM: What is PERM? | Scott Legal, P.C. (

PERM Schedule A Group I:

PERM Schedule A Group II:

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