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My employer is sponsoring me for a green card through PERM. If my job changes, will this impact the PERM process?

Employer speaking with an emplyee

The PERM process allows U.S. employers to sponsor foreign workers for permanent employment in the U.S. The PERM process involves multiple steps, and it can take years to complete the process and obtain the green card. Given the time it takes to obtain the green card, it is very common for employees to encounter a situation where their job changes while the PERM process is underway.

What if my job changes during the PERM process?

As part of the PERM process, the employer must obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) and place advertisements to test the U.S. labor market. The PWD is assigned based on the job requirements and location. The employer is required to test the labor market in the location where the employee will work to determine if there are any willing, qualified and available U.S. workers for this specific position. This means that significant changes to the job during the PERM process can require that the employer start a new PERM. For example, if you are working in Florida and you are transferred to Texas, the employer would need to get a new PWD and do a new labor market test in Texas. If the job is in the same location and the changes to the job are minimal, you may be able to avoid a new PERM, but it is important to work closely with an immigration attorney to determine if a new PERM is needed.

Is there any point in the process where the job can change without impacting the PERM?

If the applicant plans to adjust status in the United States, they can file Form I-485 as the last step in the green card application process. Once the I-485 has been pending for at least 180 days, it is possible for the applicant to port to a new job without redoing the PERM, as long as the job is in the same or a similar occupational classification.  This allows the employee to port to a completely different employer or to stay with the same employer in a different role. However, the role must be similar to the original job in the PERM application in order to take advantage of portability.

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