One way for an immigrant to get a green card is to have an employer request one in connection with a job offer. This is called "sponsoring." Sponsoring is a difficult process that can take a year or more for some workers. There are also federal and international limits as to how many employer-sponsored green cards the government will issue each year.
The Law Protects U.S. Workers
The majority of employer-sponsored green cards begin with a "Labor Certification Process." This process makes sure that no U.S. worker is available to accept the job for which the immigrant is applying. U.S. citizens have the first right to U.S. jobs.
Employers Do Much of the Work
The work involved in the Labor Certification Process falls to the employer, not the immigrant. The employer must prove through Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) that that no U.S. worker can or will fill the position the employer is offering for the wage or salary the employer is willing to pay. PERM requirements involve running help-wanted advertisements for a certain period of time, posting the job on the Internet, attending job fairs, and contacting employment agencies. Green card applications can move forward only if the employer successfully proves that the company took all these steps but failed to find a U.S. citizen willing to take the job.
After the government approves an employer's PERM application, the company must then file an I-140 petition, an Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. This involves proving that the business can afford to pay the wage or salary that it has offered the immigrant. Then, the immigrant must file an I-485 petition, an Application to Adjust Status. Alternatively, employees can choose consular processing. This involves interviewing with the U.S. consulate in the worker's home country. After all the paperwork is approved, the worker should be granted a green card, as long as the yearly limit for employer-sponsored green cards has not yet been met.
Some Individuals Have Priority
The green card process is easier for some employees than for others. Some immigrants who have outstanding talents or skills can apply for a green card on their own, without an employer sponsor, by filing a First Preference Immigration Petition, or EB-1. These individuals are likely among the best in the world at their profession. Researchers, executives, and professors also qualify for EB-1 petitions, but they must have an offer of a permanent job and their employers must file an I-140 petition for them. EB-1 petitioners can avoid the PERM process.
An Immigration Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding employer-sponsored green cards is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an immigration lawyer.