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PERM Special Handling for University and College Teachers

Special handling is a separate PERM process that was created specifically for university and college teachers and professors, provided they meet certain criteria. Special handling has several advantages over the normal PERM process. University and college teachers can use the normal PERM process of course, but special handling is preferable if the teaching position qualifies. If you have questions about the PERM special handling process and would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.

Special handling streamlines the PERM recruitment process

Under normal PERM recruitment rules, the employer is not permitted to reject a US applicant who meets the minimum requirement for the position. In order to be approved, the foreign national beneficiary must be the only qualified applicant. However, special handling allows the employer to conduct a different kind of recruitment called “competitive recruitment” or “special recruitment,” which allows the employer to reject US applicants who meet the minimum qualifications if the foreign national beneficiary is more qualified for the position. The recruitment process is less burdensome requiring less paperwork and more relaxed timing.

Normal PERM recruitment rules require the employer to place advertisements in two consecutive Sunday advertisements in newspapers of general circulation, place a job order placed the state workforce agency (SWA) for 30 days, and post a notice of filing (NOF) in the workplace to alert employees of the open position and the salary offered. Under special handling rules, all that is needed to satisfy the advertising requirement is to place a single advertisement in a single hardcopy publication of a national professional journal, or for 30 calendar days in the journal’s web-based version. The notice of filing (NOF) does not require disclosure of salary information.

Limited to college and university teachers

The regulations for optional special recruitment and documentation procedures for college and university teachers are found at 20 C.F.R. § 656.18. The regulation does not limit special handling to any specific occupation. Rather, it states that it is limited to “college and university teachers.” The regulation does not define college and university teachers, but it has been established that the position must involve some actual teaching to qualify for special handling. Faculty who are not involved in teaching do not qualify. Therefore, special handling will not be available for those positions whose occupational duties are limited solely to non-teaching activities.

Qualifying educational institution

Only colleges, universities, or institutions of higher education may qualify for special handling. Elementary and secondary school teachers are not eligible. Also eligible are academically affiliated organizations such as hospitals that conduct teaching programs that may qualify even though they are not considered to be institutions of higher education. Community or junior colleges may be eligible for special handling provided that they provide full college credit that may be used toward a baccalaureate degree at another college or university. If you would like further information about the PERM special handling process or any other immigration matter, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.

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