Navigating the transition from a non-immigrant work visa to a green card through the PERM process can be a complex endeavor. It raises several important questions: When should one commence the process? Which factors should be taken into account? Which visa holders are eligible to utilize the PERM labor certification process? In this discussion, we delve into the timeline and shed light on the appropriate starting point for the PERM labor certification process.
Understanding the PERM Process
The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process is the first step towards obtaining an employment-based green card in the United States. Essentially, it involves the Department of Labor (DOL) certifying that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job the foreign worker is being sponsored for.
When to Start the PERM Process
In order to optimize your chances of success and avoid a last-minute rush, it is recommended to start the PERM process well in advance. Generally, employers should consider starting the process as soon as they decide to sponsor a foreign worker for a green card.
Factors Affecting PERM Timeline
- Recruitment Phase: The employer must conduct recruitment activities to prove that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the job. This phase may take several months.
- Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD): The employer must request a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. The DOL’s response time may vary.
- Filing the ETA Form 9089: Once recruitment is complete and the employer has a PWD, the employer can file ETA Form 9089. The DOL’s processing times can be checked online.
H-1B Visa Holders and the PERM Process
H-1B visa holders should be particularly mindful of the PERM process timeline. As the H-1B visa is valid for six years, the PERM process should ideally be started at least one year before the end of the fifth year. This allows enough time for the I-140 petition to be filed and approved, thereby enabling an H-1B visa extension if required.
TN Visa Holders and the PERM Process
TN visa holders should be particularly mindful of the PERM process timeline. As the TN Visa is non-immigrant, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account in addition to the processing timeline. Including the impact of immigrant intent on your ability to extend your TN visa.
Early Planning Is Key
Ultimately, the PERM process requires thoughtful planning and considerable time. Employers should start as early as possible to ensure all steps can be properly completed and to safeguard against any unexpected delays. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process.
Green Cards through Employment Sponsorship
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