Many people believe that they must marry a U.S. citizen or have family in the U.S. to immigrate to the U.S. However, many people immigrate to the U.S. through a potential or existing employer. Almost all of the same rules apply but the process will be very different and can take many years depending on the visa category one falls in. Where family-based visas are based on relationship to the petitioner, employment-based visas are based on a number of different factors such as level of education, years of experience, whether the job is for a professional, or if it’s for an unskilled worker. It is important to have an updated resume handy for a knowledgeable attorney to determine which category works best for the applicant and the employer, as different visa categories, depending on the country of nativity, will have different visa availabilities.
All employment-based sponsorships for a green card will start with a process with the Department of Labor. USCIS will not come into play until the Department of Labor certifies through the PERM program, an attestation and audit process that there are no able, willing, qualified and available U.S. workers to perform the job, and that the employment of the alien will have no adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers.
The PERM process requires employers to conduct advertising and recruitment before filing the labor certification application. Employers must place two Sunday advertisements in the newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment, and a job order with the appropriate State Workforce Agency. Employers must post a notice of the job opportunity at the location of employment in the location of intended employment. The notice must also be published in any and all in-house media in accordance with the normal procedures used for the recruitment of other similar positions. For professional occupations, employers must take three (3) additional recruitment steps!
Once all of this has been complete, the employer will need to file the petition with USCIS, followed by the applicant’s either immigrant visa application at a U.S. Consulate abroad, or adjustment of status in the U.S. if they are eligible. As previously stated, it can take a few years to accomplish all of these steps, so it is important to talk to a knowledgeable attorney that can help you through this process.