Job Sponsorship for Permanent Residence

For people who do not have close relatives who are US Citizens or who have green cards, the work they do may be the best way to get permanent residence in the U.S. Under the US immigration law professionals and skilled and unskilled workers may be able to qualify for a green card.

To get a green card from a job, the person needs an employer in the US. The employer is sometimes called the Sponsor. The Sponsor must have a full time job for the person and must be able to show it can afford to pay the usual salary for the job.

The Sponsor or the Sponsor's attorney can apply for a Labor Certificate from the US Department of Labor. The procedures for getting the Labor Certificate are very complicated. A changed Labor Certificate application process went into affect on 28 March 2005 called the Perm System. A lawyer experienced in Immigration Law can help with the difficult recruiting and application procedures.

Recruiting of a very specific nature with specific timetables and content requirments must be completed before Application forms are submitted to the US Department of Labor. The form describes the job duties, hours, wages, and the minimum previous experience needed to qualify for the job, and more. Some of the required forms can be submitted by the Internet on-line or by mail.

Before an application for a Labor Certificate can be made, recruiting, advertising, posted notices, and a Job Search order must be completed. As part of the Labor Certificate procedure, a search must be made for a US worker or a person with a green card who is qualified for the job. If a person applies for the job who is authorized to work, has the required previous experience, and wants the job, the Labor Certificate case must stop. For this reason, most successful sponsored cases are for jobs where there is a shortage of workers in the US.

Jobs that have had success in the past include import export, jobs requiring use of a foreign language, household cooks, automobile mechanics, tailors, highly skilled carpenters, and cooks of foreign food, complex computer, engineering, or other professional level jobs, and others.

The person being sponsored must give proof that he/she has had the required minimum experience. This is usually done with a letter from the person's previous employer describing what the person did on the job, and the dates worked.

If no qualified US worker is found, then the application for a Labor Certification can be made to the US Department of Labor which makes a decision on the Labor Certificate application. If all has been done correctly and no qualified US workers were found, a Labor Certificate will be issued.

After the Certificate is issued, the employer or the employer's lawyer sends a Petition to the immigration service. The Labor Certificate must be attached to the Petition with other papers. The Immigration Service needs proof that the job actually exists, that the person has the previous experience required, and that the employer Sponsor can afford to pay the wage offered.

After the immigration service is satisfied, it will send a Petition approval notice. When the person is reached on the waiting list, the person can apply in the U.S. for an adjustment (change) of status to permanent residence if they are in legal status or they can apply at a U.S. consulate if they have not been in the US out of status for over six months. If the application is approved, the BCIS will change the person to green card status or the US Consul will issue a green card visa. The immediate family can be included in the Visa application.

Here is an example. Mr. Chan lives in Hong Kong where he has been a cook of Chinese style food for about five years. He has a cousin or a friend in the US who spoke to a restaurant owner in New York that needs a good cook. The owner agrees to sponsor Mr. Chan. The owner signs forms prepared by the lawyer describing the job. Mr. Chan also signs papers and sends them back to the lawyer.

The lawyer helps the employer determine the correct wages, helps do the required recruiting, sends papers to the US Labor Department.

Two people answered the advertisments. One has no authorization to work, the other has only one year experience instead of the required two years. Neither of them is qualified so the case for Mr. Chan continues. The US Department of Labor issues the Labor Certificate.

The lawyer then sends a Petition to the sponsor restaurant to sign. The lawyer sends the signed petition to the immigration service. The immigration service asks for proof that Mr. Chan has at least two years experience and also asks to see the income tax return of the restaurant to make sure it has enough money to pay the salary of the new cook. Later, the BCIS sends the petition approval notice to the lawyer and to the US consul. When Mr. Chan reaches the top of the waiting list, the lawyer arranges for the U.S. consul to interview Mr. Chan and his family. The Consul wants to know if Mr. Chan has the experience, if he has ever had problems with the police, if his health is OK. If all is approved, the Consul issues immigrant visas to allow Mr. Chan and his family to enter the U.S. as permanent residents. Mr. Chan then goes to work for the restaurant.

Each case is different. This is a brief description of a very complicated procedure. Strongly suggest a lawyer experienced in immigration law be consulted before sponsoring someone or before being sponsored.

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© Richard Madison 2005

Law Office of Richard Madison