Obtaining a Green Card in the USA
In order to work in the USA, foreign workers need to either obtain a temporary work visa (non-immigrant, short-term) or a green card (permanent residency). Most foreign workers begin working in the USA on a temporary work visa and “convert” it to a green card through the labor certification process (PERM). To ease the process, our experienced immigration attorneys at Perez & Malik, PLLC will prepare PERM applications and offer expert legal advice for each individual case.
There are three stages an employer must complete in order to obtain an employment-based green card through PERM labor certification.
- PERM labor certification
- I-140 petition approval (EB-2 or EB-3)
- Green Card (Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing)
The First Step in the Process: PERM
PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management, which is the process of obtaining a “labor certificate” from the US Department of Labor (DOL). An employer can file for your green card so long as there are no other qualified, willing, and able U.S. workers to fill the position. In the PERM stage, the employer proves there are no such workers. There are three main steps within the PERM process:
Step 1. Obtain a prevailing wage determination. The DOL informs the employer what they must pay you—the foreign worker— once the green card is approved. Later, at the I-140 stage, the employer must prove that they have the financial ability to pay this amount.
Step 2. Recruitment. The employer must place job advertisements for the proffered position. If, after receiving and reviewing job applicants, the employer cannot find a qualified, willing and able U.S. worker to fulfill the position, he can file the PERM with the DOL.
Step 3. Labor Certification is filed. Once the PERM labor certification is approved, the employer must file the I-140 petition within 180 days. Today, most PERM applications are approved within 90-120 days from filing. The filing date is important because it becomes the foreign worker’s “priority date”—the date a foreign worker is placed “in line” for wait-time determination. Once the I-140 is approved and permanent visas are available (check the visa bulletin), a foreign worker can file for a green card.
San Antonio Immigration Attorneys You Can Trust
The PERM labor certification process can be an overwhelming task for both employers and foreign workers. At Perez & Malik, PLLC, our San Antonio immigration lawyers are experienced with the PERM process, can help foreign workers gain entry and retention in the U.S. and eventually obtain a green card. Our office assists and advises employers regarding compliance with immigration regulations every step of the way– from inception to work visa to PERM labor certification to permanent residency to citizenship. To learn how to obtain a green card for foreign workers through employment and labor certification, contact Perez & Malik, PLLC attorneys and speak to an expert today.