• How to Sponsor a Foreign Worker to Obtain a Green Card: Employer's Requirements and Responsibilities

    Obtain employment residency for international workers by obtaining a labor certification

    Workers coming to the US from other countries are considered foreign workers. Such an international worker can obtain a green card in order to legally come to the America only in the circumstance where their U.S. employer is able to prove that there is not a suitable American worker who can be shown to be available, qualified, and willing to take employment according to the job specifications. This process is called “labor certification.” Labor certification involves essentially proving to the government the required non-availability of an American citizen to fill the job. On the other hand, requirements regarding entrance to the US under temporary visas like H-1Bs as well as H-2Bs, are much lower and less stringent of requirements.

    List of Procedures for Obtaining Labor Certification

    The procedures to obtain labor certification have been dramatically changed since the year 2005. At the time, an effort was being made in order to streamline the process.

    1. Employer Petitions Prevailing Wage Determination

    The initial step on the part of the employer is to petition for what is considered a "prevailing wage determination" or PWD for short. The U.S.Department of Labor, deemed DOL for short makes use of an internet based system titled iCert. This PWD is used to determine the wage or salary which is typical for the specific job. Because the employer is required to offer the foreign worker at least 100% or higher of the amount of this typical salary for the particular job. There is a one year time limit to the PWD.

    2. Employer Seeks to Hire In the U.S.

    In step 2, the employer must make good faith attempts of finding a U.S. citizen to fill the position. They do this through advertising, recruiting, and interviewing (where applicable,) candidates for the potion here in the US. Technically speaking, this step could have already begun prior to step one; however, it is important that the employer clearly offers salaries at least to the level of the prevailing salary or wage for the positions.

    The DOL regulations have determined strict rules regarding recruiting. To comply, employers must clearly post job notices on the company worksite as well as announce positions statewide through databanks as well as newspapers, journals, or other general circulation publications. The employment ads must appear on 2 different weekends specifically on Sunday.

    3. Employer Must Then File a PERM Application Form
    If, once the recruiting has been completed, the U.S. employer was not able to located a qualified, available, and willing employee for the position, who is American, the employer may submit a PERM labor cert. app. in directly to the U.S. DOL. This application includes the completion of a form called ETA-9089 and is several pages long. They have made this form available for completion on their website located at www.plc.doleta.gov. A pdf version of the form amy also be printed and filled out by obtaining it online at www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov. Supporting docs are not required at this point, although they are legally required to be available upon request by the DOL.

    The department of labor gives a decision timeframe of 45-60 days, although this deadline is rarely adhered to, taking as long a 365 days.

    Further Steps Toward Obtaining a Green Card
    Only once the labor cert. has been approved may the employer and related immigrant worker move forward. Initially, the employer subsequently files visa petition via the form I-140 of USCIS. This visa process can be further viewed and reviewed here:

    Visa Petition: Obtaining an Employment Green Card Videos

    Once the visa process has moved forward with approval, the immigrant worker needs to apply to obtain a green card. They may do so via a procedure which is called adjustment of status if they have already arrived in the US or via consular processing if they have not come to the U.S. yet.

    Exceptions to Requirement of Labor Certification

    Workers in some categories do not need certification before they are allowed to apply for green card. Such categories include the following:
    • "Employment first preference" workers, aka “Genius green card applicants” further described as people of extraordinary ability in education, sciences, business, arts, or athletics. Additionally, outstanding educators and professors, as well as researchers fall under this umbrella. Additionally, managers as well as business executives heading up multinational corporations are included.

    • Entrepreneur immigrants who are millionaires also known as ("employment fifth preference").

    • Religious type workers who come to the U.S. as "special immigrants" or “missionaries.” These workers are also known by "employment fourth preference").

    • Workers whose occupations have been included in "Schedule A," which means that United States recognizes that there is a documented shortage for these categories of workers.
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