Getting Labor Certification and a Green Card Through an Employer
Let’s assume that a company wants to hire a foreign worker, as so many U.S. companies do, and the company wants to hire that worker permanently. However, the company cannot hire someone, always wondering if they will be deported, or wondering what their immigration status is. That’s why the law allows an employer to sponsor an employee for a green card.
To avoid this problem, the employer can obtain a permanent labor certification from the Department of Labor. After the certification is received from the Department, the employer can then submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Permanent certification is available to employers for their employees through the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) system.
Requirements for Certification
To get the certification, the employer must demonstrate a few things to Immigration and Customs:
- The employer must show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing or qualified to do the job that the immigrant is being hired to do—or otherwise, that there aren’t enough American workers who will do the job for the prevailing wage. The employer must demonstrate that it has taken sufficient steps to market the job, and to try and recruit U.S. workers, and that it has been unsuccessful.
- The employer must show that if the immigrant is hired, that the immigrant’s salary or pay, will not affect the salary or pay of other U.S. workers in the same field. In other words, that the immigrant is not being paid so little that it will bring down the prevailing wage for other, U.S. workers in the same field or industry. The employer also must pay the prevailing wage—it cannot pay significantly less money to the immigrant.
These two steps can be time consuming. Making the proper showing, and certifying them to immigration, can often take between two to six months.
Sometimes, after a PERM green card application is made, the government will approve the application, but other times, the government may audit the application, and thus as for more detailed information which the employer must respond to. That can add up to a year additional to the processing time.
Fields That Often Sponsor Employees
There are many fields that require that the employer obtain the necessary labor certification. They include:
- EB-1, which are applicants that have skills in arts, education, science, business or athletics
- EB-2, which are professionals with advanced degrees
- EB-3, which includes those with bachelor’s degrees, or those with two or more years of experience. This category also includes unskilled workers.
The law prohibits employers from making employees pay for any costs related to PERM green card certification, including legal costs. Even if the company’s attorney is representing both the employee and the employer, the immigrant employee cannot be forced to make any payment towards the application costs.
Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group to help you understand the path to becoming a U.S. Citizen, and any problems that you may potentially face.