Sophie Alcorn, a renowned Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law based in Silicon Valley, California, addresses the questions raised by a consulting firm called “Hopeful HR” about the updates to the PERM process for 2024. A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows employers to hire foreign workers on a permanent basis in the United States. The firm, which mainly serves tech startups, is seeking information on the most recent changes in the PERM process. In her response, Alcorn provides a comprehensive overview of the amended PERM process, detailing how it affects explicitly tech startups and the steps they need to follow for successful applications. She emphasizes the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest regulations and guidelines to ensure smooth processing and avoid potential penalties resulting from non-compliance.
Role of Immigration Attorneys
Alcorn starts by extending New Year greetings to the firm and expresses her enthusiasm for the forthcoming year concerning immigration policy shifts. She highlights the necessity of discussing the intricate PERM process, timeframes, potential risks, and alternative solutions with an immigration attorney, depending on a company’s hiring scenario and an employee’s immigration status. In light of recent changes, Alcorn emphasizes the importance of staying up-to-date and prepared to adapt to new policies and requirements that may affect businesses and employees alike. Furthermore, she encourages employers to remain vigilant and to actively communicate with their immigration attorneys to ensure a smooth and compliant hiring process for foreign talent.
Current State of PERM
To provide background, Alcorn describes the current state of PERM. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) grants PERM labor certification as the initial step for businesses sponsoring present or potential employees for an advanced degree or exceptional ability green cards or green cards for professional workers. The primary objective of the PERM process is to safeguard wages for American workers and ensure that any eligible and available U.S. workers have access to the job before a green card is issued to the candidate. To achieve this objective, employers must demonstrate that they have conducted a thorough recruitment process, notifying and considering U.S. workers for the available position. This process includes ensuring that the employer’s requirements for the job are fair and unbiased, allowing domestic workers to apply and be given due consideration before offering the position to a foreign national.
General Requirements for Employers
There are general requirements for employers to follow in the PERM process:
1. Obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL.
2. Test the labor market by advertising the job and recruiting U.S. workers.
3. Document and evaluate the responses received from potential candidates during the recruitment process, ensuring a fair and transparent selection procedure.
4. Complete and submit ETA Form 9089, which provides information about the job duties, requirements, offered wage, and the employer’s recruitment efforts, to the DOL for review and approval.
5. Submit a labor certification application (ETA Form 9089) to the DOL.
6. After receiving approval, the employer must file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
7. Upon approval of Form I-140, the foreign worker can proceed with submitting their application for an adjustment of status (Form I-485) or consular processing.
8. It is crucial to accurately complete these forms and provide all required documents to prevent delays or complications in obtaining permanent residency for the foreign worker.
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