The path to employer sponsored permanent residency is long and complicated. It will take approximately 10 months for everything to be sorted out – that is as long as each and every step has been accomplished to the exact specifications of the Department of Labor (DOL).
Employers should know that the process can be broken down into three more manageable segments. The three segments are 1) PERM Labor Certification 2) 1-140 Visa Application, and 3) 1-485 Adjustment Visa. Here is a rundown of each section with a description of what must be done in each segment, and how much it will cost:
1) PERM Labor Certification
PERM is broken down into 2 stages. The first stage is a comprehensive US recruitment drive that canvases the entire US labour market. PERM has been developed specifically to ensure that employers do due diligence in the domestic job market before hiring foreign nationals. An initial recruitment drive must occur before the official PERM application is submitted – an employer must spend minimum 30 days receiving resumes before anything else. They are also obliged to advertise in print and digital for at least two weeks. Employers can work with advertisement agencies that specialize in PERM recruitment ads.
The second stage of PERM is for an employer to receive a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. This simply means that they are willing to offer a minimum salary for the position they are seeking. Once the prevailing wage determination has been adjudicated, a full PERM application can be submitted by the employer.
2) I-140 Visa Application
The I-140 can be undertaken once the PERM application has been certified by the DOL. This form is designed to show that the employer has the revenue to afford the salary of the new employee. It is also designed to contain all the information about the potential employee that the DOL might require: work history, pertinent skills, educational history, and so forth. The assessment of the I-140 usually takes up to 6 months. However, the employer can play a $1,225 filing fee and have it assessed within 15 calendar days. This fee can be paid for by the foreign national or the employer.
3) I-485 Adjustment Visa or DS-260
Once the I-140 application has been assessed in good standing, the only remaining hurdle is for the foreign national to file paperwork to cover any family members they would like to bring with them. In most cases, foreign nationals are already living in the United States, so all they have to do is file an Adjustment of Status Visa (I-485). The alternative is to file a DS-260 form which requires the foreign national to attend an interview at the US consulate in their country of origin.