If a U.S. company wants to sponsor a foreign worker for a green card, the first step is to obtain a Permanent Labor Certification (“PERM”) from the Department of Labor (“DOL”). This means that a U.S. employer cannot just file an I-140 immigration petition with USCIS but will have to first obtain a certified PERM application from the Department of Labor.
The Department of Labor will have to certify that there are no able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. worker available to accept the job and that the foreign national’s employment will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. employees.
How does the U.S. company obtain a PERM?
The U.S. employer will have to file ETA Form 9089. This form includes information about the employer, the employee, prevailing wage that will be paid to the worker, information about the job, information about the recruitment, employee’s work experience, etc.
Once the Department of Labor certifies the PERM, the U.S. employer will have 180 days to file the I-140 immigrant petition with USCIS.
Does the employer need to do anything before submitting the ETA Form 9089?
Yes. The U.S. employer will need to:
- Obtain a prevailing wage determination from the National Prevailing Wage Center (“NPWC”)
A U.S. employer will have to pay a “prevailing wage” to the foreign worker (the prevailing wage will depend on what is the occupation classification & on the area of employment). A U.S. employer will have to electronically submit a request to the National Prevailing Wage Center (“NPWC”).
- Conduct a recruitment process
Please note that the U.S. employer must conduct a recruitment process before the PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor. Please note that the recruitment process will differ depending on whether the occupation is a professional occupation or nonprofessional occupation and you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure that you comply with all the recruitment process rules.
Please note that the PERM process and the green card process based on PERM are very complicated and we highly recommend that you hire an immigration attorney to assist you in the process.
Please see here for our blog post on Eb-2 and Eb-3 green card process.
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