One of the most common ways to obtain U.S. lawful permanent resident status (commonly known as a green card) is through employment. Generally, a United States employer can sponsor a foreign national for a green card if it is found that no US worker is able, willing, qualified and available to perform the work that the foreign national will perform and that the position will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US citizens.
For most positions, this process is started by the employer filing a Labor Certification Application with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Labor Certification Application is basically the way an employer shows the government that the employer has been unable to find a qualified US worker for the job and that hiring the individual will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US citizens.
The employer has to complete a number of steps prior to filing the Labor Certification Application. Some of these steps include:
- Request a Prevailing Wage determination from the state where the individual works. This is to verify that the wage for the offered position will be higher than the local prevailing wage;
- Place an advertisement for the position in the closest large newspaper covering the area where the job is performed;
- Place a job order for 30 days with the local State Workforce Agency advertising the opening;
- Place at least 3 additional advertisements for the position. Some examples of other advertising options include: advertising at a job fair, recruit on a college campus, post on the employer website, advertise with a trade or professional organization, list with a job search website, list with a private employment firm, use of an employee referral program, advertise with campus placement offices, advertise with a local or ethnic newspaper, or advertise on radio or TV; and
- Post a notice for the position in a conspicuous location at the place of employment for at least ten business days.
In general, an employer must recruit for this position like they would normally recruit for any open position.
After completing the recruitment, if a US worker can not be found, the employer can file the Labor Certification Application with the US Department of Labor. If the Application is approved or “certified,” the employer then has 180 days to file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The Form I-140 is used to verify that the lawful permanent resident applicant properly qualifies for the position (has the appropriate degrees and experience) and that the employer has the financial ability to pay the listed wage. The current government filing fee for this form is $475.
If the foreign national is inside the United States in a lawful status they can also apply to adjust their status from their nonimmigrant status to lawful permanent resident status once their priority date is current. Their priority date is established on the day that the Labor Certification Application is filed with the US Department of Labor. The US Department of State establishes which priority dates are current each month. The foreign national’s spouse and minor children can also file to adjust their status too. This application is done by filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS will review this form to determine whether the foreign national has any problems with their background which could make them inadmissible to the United States. The current government filing fee for this application is $1010 for an adult.
Please contact us at 313-963-2505 if you, or someone you know, would like additional information about the employment-based green card application process.