Permanent Residence Based on PERM Labor Certification
Pursuant to Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, U.S. employers are required to test the local labor market for any available U.S. workers who are able, willing and qualified for the employment opportunity in question prior to seeking DOL certification (permission), which is the first step in gaining approval of permanent resident status on their behalf.
Based on the approved position's duties and requirements, employers engage in extensive recruitment and advertising activities, which typically last 60 days or more. These efforts consist of placing a job order with the appropriate State Workforce Agency (SWA) for 30 days and two (2) Sunday ads in a newspaper of general circulation best suited to the area of intended employment. In addition, for professional occupations, employers must undertake three (3) additional recruitment steps, using venues listed in DOL regulations. Additionally, employers must post a notice of the job opportunity at the location of intended employment for ten (10) consecutive business days or provide such notice to a designated collective bargaining unit representative, if any.
After all recruitment is completed, employers are required to observe a 30-day "cooling off" period to accept and evaluate applicants' resumes. Those applicants who appear to meet the minimum position qualifications must be interviewed. Under the law, U.S. workers may be disqualified only for lawful job-related reasons. Once the 30-day "cooling off" period has ended, employers are required to prepare a recruitment report, which must be on file prior to submitting the labor certification application.
At the end of the recruitment period, employers must be able to attest that: (1) they could not locate any able, qualified or willing U.S. workers who are available for the job opportunity; and (2) the employment of the alien will have no adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers. The employer may then submit a PERM Labor Certification application to DOL for processing.
Once the Labor Certification is granted, the petitioning employer may file a Form I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to seek immigrant visa classification for the alien beneficiary. At this stage, the employer must provide evidence of financial ability to compensate the employee at the determined rate of pay. Likewise, the alien worker for whom the I-140 is being filed must provide, or have already provided, evidence (academic credentials, employment verification letters, etc.) that he or she met all the minimum requirements (as stated on the labor certification application) at the time of hire by the sponsoring employer.
Lastly, you may submit your Application to Adjust Status to U.S. permanent residence if there is no immigrant visa backlog in your preference category. Alternatively, you may seek immigrant visa status by applying at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country.