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.