Employment Based Green Card

In most cases where a U.S. employer is seeking to fill a vacancy rapidly, it is not feasible to apply for lawful permanent residence.  Typically, employment based permanent residence applications involve demonstrating that there is a shortage of American workers to fill the vacancy. The process of demonstrating such a shortage is called PERM Labor Certification or labor certification.

When labor certification is involved, the processing period may be between two to six months. In cases where labor certification is not required, it is easier to transfer an applicant to the U.S. using a non-immigrant visa and then to apply for a green card after he or she has started the position.

PERM Labor Certification
Before an employer may obtain a green card for a foreign worker who does not qualify for exemption from labor certification, that company must demonstrate to the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the U.S. Department of Labor that the job is one for which there are insufficient American workers who are willing, qualified, and available at the time of application for a visa.

The employer must demonstrate that the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and/or working conditions of workers in the similarly employed.

Labor certification does not permit an alien to start work in the U.S.   It is merely one of several requirements before for the issuance of an immigrant visa.  An application for labor certification is made using official form ETA 9089. While no supporting documentation is required with the ETA 9089, the employer may be required to provide additional supporting documentation.

The following persons may obtain a Green Card without labor certification:

* Aliens of Extraordinary Ability in Business, Sciences, Arts, Education, or Athletics
* Outstanding Professors/Researchers
* International Executives/Managers
* Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Business with a "National Interest Waiver"
* Registered Physical Therapists
* Registered Professional Nurses

Aliens of Exceptional Ability in Business, Sciences, Arts, or Education
Applications for a green card for aliens of exceptional ability should be supported by:
* Labor certification - unless waived AND: at least 3 (and preferably more) of the following:
* An official academic record showing that the candidate has a degree, diploma, or certificate,
or: A Similar award from an institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
* Letter(s) from current or former employers showing that the candidate has at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation for which he/she is being sought;
* A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
* Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary, or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
* Evidence of membership of professional associations;
* Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry of field by peers, Governmental entities, or professional, or business organizations.

International Executives and Managers:
A multinational corporation with an established U.S. office (that has been in existence for a minimum of one year), may obtain a green card for international executives who have worked in an executive or managerial capacity for a non-US branch of the corporation for at least one year in the last three.
Applications under this category must be supported by:

* A Letter from the employer confirming employment outside the U.S., the nature of the previous employment, and the dates of employment.
* If relevant, a letter from the employer confirming the nature of the previous employment, and the dates of employment.
* A job description for the prospective employee.
* Tax returns showing employment of the candidate by the same employer outside of the U.S. for at least one year in the last three years.
* Accounts for the employer in the U.S.

Professionals with advanced degrees
Subject to labor certification, members of the professions who hold advanced degrees may practice in the U.S.

Applications for a green card for a Professional with an advanced degree should be supported by:

* Labor certification; and
* An official academic record showing that the candidate has an advanced degree or an equivalent foreign degree; or
* An official academic record showing that the candidate has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or an equivalent foreign degree with letters confirming five years of post-qualification experience.

Subject to labor certification, any qualified member of the professions may practice in the U.S.; their applications will take longer to process than those of professionals with advanced degrees.
Applications for a green card for a Professional should be supported by:
* A labor certification; and
* Evidence that the alien holds a US Baccalaureate Degree or equivalent foreign degree;
* Evidence that a Baccalaureate Degree is required for entry into occupation. This could be a letter from a professional organization confirming the requirements for admission to the profession.

Skilled workers
For U.S. immigration purposes, a skilled worker is one who will be engaging in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience; the worker must have the relevant experience, and a shortage of those particular skills must be demonstrated.  Generally, it will take longer to process an application for a Skilled Worker than it takes for a professional.
Applications for a green card for a skilled worker should be supported by:
* A labor certification, and
* Evidence that the alien meets the requirements of the labor certification such as educational qualifications, and letters confirming employment and/or training. The minimum requirement is at least two years of training or relevant experience.

Other workers:
Where labor certification has demonstrated a shortage any particular type of skills in the U.S., it is possible for those with that skill to be granted a green card.  However, when the workers are not officially deemed to be skilled workers, the process typically takes several years which renders this option relatively unattractive to employers.

Green card lottery
Every year, approximately 50,000 immigrant visas are made available through the Diversity Visa (DV) program, also known as the Green Card Lottery to people who were born in countries with low rates of immigration to the United States (i.e. fewer than 50,000 immigrants in the past five years). Applicants may qualify by country of birth, not by citizenship. Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. They can also file for their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21.

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