To hire foreign workers, employers need to go through the correct procedures. This involves a lot of paperwork to ensure they meet the right sponsorship criteria. There are also rules surrounding immigration labor advertising that are more complex than they first appear. Before sponsoring an overseas working or hiring someone from a migrant background, employers need a labor certificate.
There are many employment visas available to migrant workers, around 140,000 each year. There are different levels of the visa that apply to different types of work. For specific positions that cannot be filled by a domestic worker, a labor certification is required before the visa process can commence.
Part of getting the appropriate certification, the Department of Labor needs to analyze the recruitment and hiring needs of the company in question. They use the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) system to do this. The job advertisement must be open to domestic applicants, not just migrant workers. If no domestic applicants are suitable for justified reasons, the Department allows the employer to hire a foreign worker.
During this recruitment stage, PERM has many criteria that must be satisfied. For instance, there are certain media types that the job must be posted in, including a printed newspaper ad run in a local newspaper for two consecutive Sundays. At least one job posting must be available and accessible to all for at least 30 days.
During this stage, it is expected that the employer will receive and review many interviews. There should also be interviews conducted. Once the recruitment is complete, the employer must complete the fifteen-page ETA 9089 form for the Department.
Once all this is completed and the employer has decided on hiring a foreign worker, they need to fund the visa. A Form I-140 Immigration Petition must be sent to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services office along with the assigned fee. Throughout this, the employee will need to complete a bunch of paperwork at their end, including supporting documentation, biometrics, and medical or background checks. If they are already in the US, they can apply for a change of permanent status using an I-485 form.
The processing time for this whole scenario varies on a case-by-case basis. The lodging of the advertising process at the employer’s end can take up to 6 months in some situations. It is important to be thoroughly prepared for all this and allow plenty of time to avoid frustrations along the way. Employers also need to ensure all their documentation and paperwork is in order and stays well maintained for at least five years, in the event of an audit from the Department.