By Kaitlyn Garcia, J.D. | Immigration Attorney | Houston, Texas
The PERM labor certification process is typically the first step in the green card process for those individuals on temporary employment visas in the U.S.
Successfully navigating through the PERM process and securing the labor certification and subsequent I-140 sets an individual up to adjust status to move from a temporary worker here in the U.S. to a U.S. permanent resident.
Specifically, for H-1B employees, even if they are not eligible to adjust status due to green card backlogs, the H-1B employee can still use their approved PERM labor certification and subsequent I-140 to extend past their six year limit on H-1B under current regulations.
Important PERM POINTER #1: Taking a careful look at the job duties
Every PERM application must establish the “minimum requirements” for the position. Showing DOL the minimum requirements for the position gets tricky though because "minimum requirements" for the job does not mean "preferred requirements" for the job. Employers often have preferred requirements for any job but when breaking it down further, the absolute bare minimum requirements for the job is what matters at the end of the day for the PERM.
Further, when submitting the PERM labor certification with the Department of Labor (DOL), the DOL considers qualifications from the worker at the initial hiring by the employer. This means that an evaluation of the job duties from the initial job offer for the later PERM position is a good starting point when laying out the the job duties for the PERM application. The intersection between the original job duties and the PERM labor certification is a necessary consideration for any PERM labor certification.
The original job description for the position is helpful because it contain the basic information needed for the PERM job, such as the job title, a description of the duties, and list of qualifications (education, training, experience, and skills) that the employer requires typically for the position. This information in the original job description will help set up the “actual minimum requirements” for the position under DOL PERM guidelines.
Overall, helping clarify and establish exactly what are the "actual minimum requirements" for any PERM labor position is the critical first step in the PERM process and must be done so carefully and early on to set up your PERM for success.