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East Bay bulletins

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW MUCH FASTER PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING A GREEN CARD THROUGH WORK SPONSORS

For the last several years, the procedure for obtaining permanent residence has been mired in enormous delays, taking anywhere from 3-5 years or more. This has made obtaining a green card through a work sponsor all but impossible.

Now, a new procedure has been announced which the federal government says will take less than one month to process. This has opened up the possibility that persons here temporarily could actually process an application for permanent residence while they wait here legally.

The employment-based permanent residence process is usually a three-step process. The first step is the Application for Foreign Labor Certification whereby the intending immigrant attempts to prove that there is a job available and which cannot be filed by a qualified American applicant. The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a major overhaul of this procedure.

The new labor certification program, known by the name "PERM," will require employers to demonstrate, through advertising and other forms of recruitment, that there are no qualified and available U.S. workers for a particular position. As before with the present “RIR” system, the advertising must be placed before the application is filed. The ads must include two Sunday newspaper advertisements and a job order with the state workforce agency.

The PERM application form will be filed electronically. As presently, there is no processing fee.

DOL has said processing times should be dramatically shorter under PERM than under current Labor Certification/RIR procedures. It is projecting the total processing time to be 21 days.

In the past, state workforce agencies (the Employment Development Department in California) administered this process. Under new procedures disclosed by the Department of Labor, these state workforce agencies no longer process Labor Certification applications; the state workforce agencies simply receive newly filed applications and then forward the applications to National Processing Centers for processing.

The new law takes effect March 28, 2005. However, since the recruitment period prior to filing an application lasts 30-180 days, persons may choose to begin the recruitment process immediately so as to be prepared for filing new applications when the law takes effect.

CHRISTOPHER A. KEROSKY of the law firm of KEROSKY & ASSOCIATES has practiced law since 1984 and has handled over 1000 immigration cases. He graduated from University of California, Berkeley Law School and was a former counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. His offices are in San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento.

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