Employment Related Immigration
IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
HSPRD attorneys have extensive experience helping foreign nationals and their employers obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. We represent businesses ranging from startup companies to multinational corporations and a multitude of institutions, universities, medical centers, and nonprofit organizations in securing lawful permanent residence for their employees based on their job skills, outstanding achievements, and the need for their services. We also represent individual foreign nationals seeking lawful permanent residence based on their extraordinary ability, the U.S. national interest in their skills, or their willingness to invest in a U.S. enterprise. Determining the best strategy for seeking lawful permanent residence requires a sophisticated understanding of the various options the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) provides for seeking lawful permanent residence based on job skills and achievements. HSPRD attorneys evaluate the circumstances of each foreign national we represent who desires to become a lawful permanent resident in order to determine the best strategy for that individual and implement that strategy based on our knowledge of the law and our advocacy skills. The primary options available for seeking lawful permanent residence based on employment skills, achievements, and investment are summarized below.
PERM Labor Certification
The standard process for seeking lawful permanent residence based on employment begins with an application to U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) known as Program Electronic Review Management (“PERM”). Through a PERM application, employers can seek a certification that there are no available U.S. workers who meet the minimum requirements for a permanent position in which an employer seeking to employ a foreign national. If the DOL issues that certification, the employer can petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to classify the prospective employee as a foreign national eligible to immigrate under the second or third employment-based preference and the prospective employee can apply for lawful permanent residence either in the United States through the adjustment of status process or outside the United States through a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. The DOL has determined that due to the continuing shortage of physical therapists and nurses, those 2 occupations are exempt from the PERM process and employers can petition the USCIS to obtain immigrant status for foreign nationals qualified to work in these occupations without a PERM certification.
Special Handling PERM Labor Certification
Universities are accorded special treatment when seeking permanent residence for professors. The process known as “special handling” is available when universities can demonstrate that a foreign national faculty member was hired after a competitive recruitment process which selected the best candidate for the position. Where applicable, special handling exempts universities from the more stringent recruitment requirements applicable to the standard PERM labor certification process.
Extraordinary Ability Aliens
Foreign Nationals who can demonstrate that they have received national or international acclaim for their outstanding achievements in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics may skip the PERM process to qualify for lawful permanent residence as aliens of extraordinary ability under the first employment-based preference (“EB-1”) and do not require employer sponsorship when seeking this classification.
Multinational Executives and Managers
Multinational employers can often skip the PERM process when petitioning for lawful permanent residence to be granted under the first Employment Based Preference (“EB-1”) to foreign national, executives and managers who have been transferred to the United States.
Outstanding Professors and Researchers
University and employers with research facilities may be eligible to skip the labor certification process when applying for permanent residence under the second employment-based preference (“EB-2”) for professors and researchers who are internationally recognized for their outstanding achievements.
National Interest Waivers Petitions
Foreign nationals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business who would like to become permanent residents of the U.S. may be able to skip the labor certification process if they can demonstrate that their work is in the “national interest.” There are two types of “National Interest Waiver” petitions, one for physicians, and one for all other positions. Foreign nationals do not require employer sponsorship when seeking lawful permanent residence based on a national interest waiver.
Special Immigrant Religious Workers
Religious institutions may be able to skip the PERM process when seeking lawful permanent residence for foreign nationals who are ministers or serve in other religious vocations and occupations so that they perform their religious work on a full-time basis in the United States.
EB-5 Immigrant Investors
An EB-5 immigrant investor visa may be an attractive option for a high net-worth individual seeking to immigrate to the United States. This visa allows a foreign national and his or her family to obtain U.S. permanent residence through investment in an enterprise that they form on their own, or in a commercial enterprise known as a Regional Center.
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