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PERM Special Handling: Position Must Involve Teaching

Special handling is not available to all college and university faculty. It is only for those whose job position involves teaching. What kinds of activities are considered to be “teaching” and which are not? And how much teaching must the position involve in order to be considered a teaching position? 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 a faster method for filing PERM applications and it has other advantages as well. To find out more about those advantages and the immense benefits to the foreign national and the employer, please see our previous article PERM Special Handling for University and College Teachers.

How does a position qualify as a college or university teacher?

The plain language of the statute defines a teacher as a “member of the teaching profession.” The US Department of Labor (DOL) has interpreted this to exclude elementary and secondary school teachers, restricting this definition to mean college and university teachers. Two year community college teachers may also qualify if the course credits can be used towards a baccalaureate degree at another school. An organization can qualify even when it is not an institute of higher education so long as it has a relationship with an academic institution based upon a joint academic appointment, such as in the situation of a hospital that teaches medical students.

How much teaching must be involved for the position to qualify?

There is no requirement that the position be limited to only teaching duties. The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) has recognized that the regulations do not define the job requirements of a college or university teacher, and that is not necessary for teaching to be the principal duty of the position in order to qualify for special handling. The regulations do not specify a specified minimum amount of teaching, and the DOL has refused to set one. The rule is that the position must involve “some” teaching to be processed under special handling.

What types of job duties are considered to be those of a teacher?

The rules are quite relaxed as to whether a college or university position counts as a teacher for special handling purposes. The DOL has tried to provide its definition of teaching as “teaching, evaluating and advising students within an assigned instructor workload in a classroom setting.” The BALCA refused to accept the DOL’s interpretation, and it held that its definition was unsupported by the regulations. The BALCA has held that even a position with job duties described as including “instruction activity” is relevant to establish that the duties of the position involve teaching under any common sense interpretation of the English language.

In light of the above, it would seem that in order to qualify for special handling, establishing that the position involves teaching should be fairly straightforward. 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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