B-1 Business Visitor Visa
B-2 Tourist Visa
F-1 Student Visa
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
L Intracompany Transferee Visa
Extraordinary Ability O Visa
Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Visas
Immigrant (Permanent) Visas
OVERVIEW: If an employer is interested in hiring a Foreign National employee for a permanent, long-term position, an employer must take several steps. The entire process—from sponsorship to obtaining a green card—can be complicated due to the strict requirements set in place by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and USCIS. Our attorneys have successfully helped employers navigate the complex requirements set forth by the DOL and USCIS to obtain lawful permanent residence status for their Foreign National employees. Generally, sponsoring a Foreign National employee for an employment-based immigrant visa can be broken down into a three-stage process: the PERM Stage; the I-140 Stage; and the Adjustment of Status Stage.
The PERM Stage: Obtaining Labor Certification through the DOL
Often, the first step in sponsoring a Foreign National employee for an immigrant visa begins with the employer filing a labor application with the DOL. The PERM process requires the sponsoring employer to conduct rigorous recruitment for the position in the local job market to determine if there are any qualified U.S. workers who are willing to perform the position. If the employer determines that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the position, then the employer can then submit the labor application with the DOL for certification (approval). After thorough review of the labor application, the DOL will certify the application, ask for more information about the position or recruitment conducted, or deny it. Successfully obtaining labor certification includes several detailed and time-sensitive steps, including conducting recruitment, and can be confusing without an experienced immigration attorney assisting you throughout the entire process. Our immigration attorneys are experienced with working before the DOL and have successfully filed and obtained labor applications for employers seeking to hire Foreign National employees for a permanent position within a variety of industries.
The I-140 Stage: Sponsoring a Foreign National for a Permanent Position
After successfully obtaining labor certification from the DOL, the next step in the permanent, immigrant visa process is to file a petition for an immigrant visa on behalf of the Foreign National employee before USCIS using Form I-140. At this stage of the immigrant visa process, an employer is offering the permanent position to a specific Foreign National employee who qualifies for the position that was certified by the DOL at the PERM stage of the immigrant visa process. Certain positions do not require labor certification before sponsoring a Foreign National employee with USCIS.
The Adjustment of Status Stage: Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident
A Foreign National employee can adjust status (AOS) to that of Lawful Permanent Resident using Form I-485 through his or her employment. To be able to adjust status, the Foreign National employee must have an approved I-140, or, his employer must have concurrently filed an I-140 with USCIS for adjudication. The immigrant visa must also be immediately available to the Foreign National employee, which means that the priority date of the immigrant visa must be current. Whether the priority date of the immigrant visa is current can be determined by looking at the latest Visa Bulletinpublished by the U.S. Department of State. If the immigrant visa’s priority date is not current, we can help the employer and the Foreign National employee maintain his lawful immigration status until the immigrant visa becomes current and the Foreign National employee can file an AOS application with USCIS.
AOS Portability: Under the AOS Portability rule, a Foreign National employee with an approved I-140 petition and pending AOS application can change jobs and still adjust status to that of Lawful Permanent Resident as long as the new job is in the same or substantially similar occupation as his prior job and his previously filed AOS application has been pending for at least 180 days. Please contact our office if you are interested in hiring a Foreign National employee who has a pending AOS application with USCIS through another employer to ensure that the Foreign National employee is able to “port” his AOS application, thus allowing him to work on a permanent basis for your business.
Permanent, Immigrant Visas include:
To qualify for an NIW, the Foreign National employee must have an advanced degree (U.S. Master’s degree or higher) in the sciences, arts, or business. The Foreign National employee must also seek employment in an area of substantial benefit to the national economy, or the cultural or educational interests, or welfare, of the United States. The substantial benefit must be prospective in nature as well.