A foreign person who has received an offer to work in the United States must be granted a labor certification prior to filing for a visa. The employer who wishes to sponsor the applicant must prove that there are not sufficient American workers who are qualified, willing and available to fill the position, and that employing the foreign person will not have a negative effect on the wages and working conditions of American workers in similar jobs.
The labor certification process consists of three phases that lead to permanent residency status. First, the employer who wishes to sponsor the applicant must apply for a Labor Certification on behalf of the applicant. This application is made to the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Next, the employer files a visa petition with the USCIS. After the petition has been filed, the applicant must apply either for an adjustment of status from non-immigrant to permanent resident, or for an immigrant visa from the United States consulate in his or her home country.
The process by which employers must provide initial documentation changed in 2005 with the passage of the Program Electronic Reveiw (PERM) law. Employers are now required to
If the job is a professional position that requires a university degree, the employer must also provide evidence that he or she has sought American applicants for the position through at least three of the following methods:
Only one of the steps listed above may take place within 30 days of filing the application for Labor Certification, and none of them may take place more than 180 days before filing