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Employment Based Green Card

For the client seeking permanent residence based on employment, the most common avenue is Labor Certification. These certifications are issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration in conjunction with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The DOL will grant the certification if it determines that the specific job offered to the applicant cannot be sufficiently staffed by ready, willing, qualified and available U.S. workers.

To qualify for a permanent labor certification, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • The employee must be hired by the domestic employer as a full-time employee
  • The position must be a bona fide job opening available to U.S. workers
  • The job requirements must be customary to U.S. requirements for that occupation and not altered to conform to the employee’s foreign qualifications
  • The pay rate for the job must be at least the common amount for that type of occupation

In addition to these requirements, the DOL requires three filings to complete labor certification:

  • ETA Form 9089: PERM Labor Certification application (filed by the employer)
  • Form I-140 Immigrant Petition (filed by the employer with USCIS)
  • Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (filed by the employee with USCIS)

If the applicant is outside the United States, the employee must have his or her immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

The application’s terms and conditions contain the minimum education and experience requirements. Prior to filing, the employer must take mandatory recruitment steps to determine the position cannot be filled by a U.S. worker, which entail circulation of advertisements for the job. The DOL also provides a choice of additional recruitment steps that are required before the application can be filed. The employer also must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. For a listing of the official filing process and pre-filing requirements, visit the DOL website.