Labor Certification – The Road to Acquiring a Green Card Via Employment

Your dream is to live and work legally in the United States. Getting there can be frustrating, but there are many options available to foreign nationals. One such option is securing your green card via an employer. The road to your green card may seem daunting, but with the sponsorship of a valid employer who values your skills and experience, it is completely attainable. Let's talk more about the steps to Labor Certification below.

If you are seeking your green card through employment, the first step in this process is Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) which is obtained by your employer. This process can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Several steps must be taken by the company sponsoring you to prove that you are the most qualified and experienced professional for the job.

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What Is Labor Certification?

Labor Certification is a document that must be filled out by an employer to register an employment-based immigration petition for a foreign national. Employers filing these certificates for green cards via employment must prove to the Department of Labor that an exhaustive job search was conducted on the local level and that no adequate recruit was found. 

How does an employer prove they have gone to great lengths to fill the position with a U.S. citizen before looking abroad? Here are the requirements demanded by the DOL:

  1. Prevailing Wage

The employer must make a prevailing wage request with the DOL through its website. This is the first step in the PERM process which also provides the DOL with a clear list of job responsibilities as well as the business’ location. The prevailing wage is crucial to the Labor Certification process because it requires that foreign workers receive the same prevailing wage as U.S. citizens in the geographic area where the company is located. The prevailing wage is specific to location, so keep in mind that a prevailing wage in New York City will be higher than one in Toledo, Ohio. 

Recommended reading: How to Apply for PERM, First Step of the Employment Green Card Process  :

PERM


2. Recruiting

The next step in the process is recruitment. Employers must create a job description that is detailed and clearly defines all the job responsibilities and other requirements regarding educational degrees and work experience. The job must be posted in local newspapers as well as online postings to ensure that U.S. citizens were given every opportunity to apply and interview for the position. The job position must also be posted in the workplace. The recruitment process requires that advertisements must include two Sunday postings. It is recommended that all job advertisements be posted at the same time because they must be less than 180 days old when the PERM is filed. 

3. ETA Form 9098

After obtaining a PWD, advertising the position and proving there are no qualified U.S. workers, the next step is for the employer to file ETA Form 9089 with the Department of Labor. ETA Form 9089 gives employers the right to pursue Permanent Labor Certification on behalf of a foreign national. The DOL will expect that the company reveals the salary and the methods used in the recruitment process. Prospective employees will need to demonstrate work experience and training to help ensure a positive outcome.


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Next Steps to Obtaining a Green Card

After the Labor Certification has been approved, the next step for your employer is to file an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The company filing this petition for you is responsible for proving that it can pay your salary. To prove this, the employer must show it is financially sound by providing a letter from the CFO or an audited financial statement. Most companies typically demonstrate this by sharing tax returns from the previous year as well as balance sheets from the current year to show profits and losses.  

Other documents that will aid in acquiring your green card through employment are letters of recommendation from previous employers speaking to your experience and professionalism. This will help solidify that in fact, you do possess the requisite skills for the job and that no other candidates exceed or match your skillset. Certificates of your degrees and other qualification letters must also be presented to demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the position.

Once the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) receives your I-140 petition, you will be assigned a file number and receive a Receipt Notice to acknowledge that it is in their position. If the USCIS accepts your petition, you will then receive an Approval Notice. Your approval notice allows you to move to the next step of the green card process which is submitting an Adjustment of Status, but your immigrant status remains the same.

Securing your green card through employment takes many steps. To be successful, seek the advice and professional knowledge of an experienced immigration attorney. At the Law Offices of Alice Antonovsky, our skilled and compassionate team will carefully guide you through all the requirements to obtain your green card. To request a confidential consultation with Alice Antonovsky, please call (718) 924-2896. Our legal team is fluent in English, Spanish and Russian.

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