PERM Labor Certification Process
The majority of EB-2 and EB-3 employment based green card processes include the PERM labor certification process. The EB-2 visa is for professionals with an advanced degree (Master’s degree or above) or its equivalent – i.e., a bachelor’s degree plus 5 years of progressive experience in the field. The EB-3residence category is for professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, or for a skilled worker with two years of experience.
The PERM labor certification process requires careful planning and attention to detail on the part of the attorney. The Department of Labor (“DOL”) provides specific guidelines for the PERM process, and the body of precedent law in this area is vast and must be meticulously followed.
Immigration General Counsel skillfully leads the PERM process and provides a peace of mind for our clients. We work closely with our clients to monitor the deadlines and guide the prevailing wage process, coordinate and assist the clients with recruitment activities such as placing ads in the newspapers, company website, internet or other appropriate media. If no qualified US workers are identified through the recruitment activities, we then complete the PERM Labor Certification application with the Department of Labor.
National Interest Waiver
A National Interest Waiver (NIW) request waives the Labor Certification requirement because the applicant’s residence is in the interest of the United States. The option to apply for a green card with NIW is available through the EB-2 visa category to applicants with an advanced degree or with “exceptional ability” (expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered) in sciences, medicine, arts, business, or athletics.
Immigration General Counsel will work closely with you to draft the arguments qualifying you for the EB-2 NIW and to effectively demonstrate eligibility through objective evidence. Though the jobs that qualify for NIW are not defined, the waiver is usually granted to those who have done exceptional work in the field and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waivermay self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition. This saves a considerable amount of time, as one does not have to go through the time-consuming labor certification process with the DOL.
Physician’s National Interest Waiver (PNIW)
Foreign-educated physicians are eligible to seek a green card through a National Interest Waiver, which is different than for other professionals. After successfully assisting a physician in obtaining a J-1 visa waiver, and while she is working in a medically underserved area in H-1B status, a physician may be eligible to seek permanent residency under this PNIW. We will guide you in obtaining the necessary letters from the required state agencies that support the permanent residence petition. We advise and counsel our physician clients to ensure that EB-2 PNIW is the most appropriate course of action for them. To qualify for a green card through NIW route, typically, a physician must:
- Agree to work for five years (including three years in H-1B status) in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Area (MHPSA – for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA), and
- Be engaged in full-time clinical practice in primary care (such as a general practitioner, family practice practitioner, general internist, pediatrician, obstetrician/gynecologist, or psychiatrist) or be a specialty physician.
In addition to avoiding the labor certification process, another advantage of the PNIW process is that a physician can self-petition and can even be employed by a medical practice they own. A physician can file for his/her and the family members’ adjustment of status applications (Form I-485), provided the priority date is current, without waiting the required five-year period.
“Schedule A” Workers (Physical Therapists and Nurses)
Healthcare immigration is a core practice area for Immigration General Counsel . We provide a full scope of immigration services to hospitals and medical groups and manage all of your immigration needs. Immigration for healthcare workers is vital for the US healthcare system and we guide our medical facility clients in petitioning for and sponsoring green cards for their valuable nurse and physical therapist employees. The DOL has declared physical therapists and nurses as a “shortage occupation,” and thus nurses and physical therapists are eligible to apply for a green card without going through the labor certification process.
Immigration General Counsel reviews the qualifications of the foreign-trained nurses and physical therapists to ensure proper training and licensure requirements. Once all training requirements are satisfied, we guide the US employer in obtaining the prevailing wage and in compliance with posting requirements. To qualify as a “Schedule A” nurse, the applicant must:
- Have passed the Commission on Graduates in Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Examination; or
- Hold a full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment; or
- Have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
A physical therapist is qualified to apply for the green card if he/she has the license to practice in the state of intended employment. If not, proof that he/she is eligible to obtain the license is adequate.