Work Visa Lawyer Discusses Adding the Green Card Process to Employee Benefits Packages

Contrary to popular belief, the sky is not falling. America’s economic engine is picking up steam once again and businesses are hiring for key positions in engineering and technology. Adding an employment-based green card process to your company’s benefit package is an excellent way to help your firm attract and retain key human resources within your firm. In fact, the employment-based green card processes is designed to be utilized by employers in the manner of an employee benefit, with the employer controlling the initial stages of the green card process. However due to the complex nature of the recruitment and application process, attorney consultation and guidance is strongly recommended for companies considering this avenue. Below are some of the considerations that human resource specialists, executives or business owners should consider when weighing the green card process for their organization.

What is a Green Card?

A “green card” is shorthand or slang for the immigrant status of being lawfully accorded the privilege of permanently residing in the United States as an immigrant. It is the lawful permanent resident status or “LPR” status is the goal of many foreign national employees. LPR status allows a foreign national the ability to live and work in the United States for a virtually unlimited duration while in good behavior. The “green card” is just a document that is indicative that a person holds lawful permanent resident status.
Employers are in a unique position of being able to provide one of only a few avenues to LPR immigration status. Virtually everyone has heard that a “green card” can be received through marriage to a US citizen. Additionally, it is true that you can legally buy your way to a green card through the EB-5 million dollar investor visas. People who gain asylum in the United States due to persecution also receive green cards. An employer in certain situations can apply for the LPR status of an employee as well.

Green Card as an Employee Benefit?

The employer, after following certain regulations and procedures handed down by the Department of Labor and the USCIS can apply for an employee’s green card. This manner of obtaining a green card is very popular among those persons holding bachelors or higher levels of education. In fact, the intention of Congress when it established the employment-based green card process that must be used in most situations was to have the employer pay for and control the employment-based green card process. Because the procedure is controlled by the employer, the employer can use it as a recruitment and retention tool, just as any other employee benefit that it offers its employees.

PERM Process

In most situations, US employers are only allowed to sponsor the LPR or Green Card status of a foreign national after proving that there are not enough US workers who are willing and able to fill the position that the employer has in mind. In order to prove that there are insufficient workers for the position, Department of Labor regulations require that the worker market be tested at a certain location and at a certain time through a campaign of recruitment of US workers for the position. Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the name of the regulations that instruct employers on how exactly they are to recruit and advertise the position to potential American workers. Only after an employer follows the PERM regulations, can it apply to the Department of Labor to certify that it looked for American workers but none were available. Due to the complex nature of these regulations, many employers choose to retain counsel to aid them in this application process.

Why can’t I Hire Anyone That I Want?

Before an alien worker may be hired on a permanent resident Green Card basis, an application must be made to the Department of Labor stating that there are not enough workers able, willing and qualified to do the job in a specific location and at a specific point in time. Many business owners echo the question listed above. For those who thought that this country is based upon freedom of contract, think again. The federal government has great control over labor standards and exercises its authority through the Department of Labor. Additionally, the federal government has complete control over immigration matters. Unsurprisingly, applying for the Green Card of an employee requires applications to both the Department of Labor and the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. Because the Green Card process is a balancing act between the separate requirements of separate governmental entities, attorney representation and guidance is highly recommended.

Experienced Work Visa and Immigration Lawyers

In today’s environment of strict enforcement of work visas, it makes absolute sense for businesses of all sizes to make immigration counsel part of their team of employment law experts. Our firm is experienced in all aspects of employment based immigration and visa law from I-9 compliance to temporary work permits and especially the PERM and Green Card Process.

If you have questions about an immigration visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.

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