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Work Visas: Immigration Through Labor Certification

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on April 17, 2013

One means of gaining entry to the U.S. is to use a job offer to obtain a green card. The offer of employment must be for a position that is both full-time and permanent. The immigration law surrounding gaining legal entry to the United States from abroad is extremely complicated. Anyone hoping to successfully immigrate to the United States will benefit from the expertise of a qualified immigration attorney.

Anchoring a Green Card

Though any job offer of a permanent, full-time position can potentially anchor a green card, immigrants who are highly educated or possess unique skills are more likely to experience success. The United States has a numerical system for determining which jobs and skills are in demand. There are simply more slots available for professional workers than unskilled laborers.

The anchoring process is further complicated by the requirement that an employer provide evidence that they cannot locate a qualified worker in the United States. Nevertheless, every case is unique. An immigration lawyer carefully reviews each set of circumstances and the immigration rules that will influence the case.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) must certify that a qualified immigrant is required to fill a given position. The lengthy process can sometimes be avoided when priority workers are involved. The process known as labor certification includes the following basic procedures:

  • Seeking foreign worker certification for a designated job
  • Conducting a job search in accordance with DOL guidelines
  • Certification by DOL that a qualified worker is unavailable in the United States

Though the employer is not required to hire the applicant, the job is not eligible for foreign certification if even one qualified worker can be found in the United States. The process of comparing unique skill sets with the needs of an employer is quite often a matter of interpretation. An employer’s need for an uncommon skill, such as fluency in a foreign language, may greatly influence the final decision.

Immigrating to the United States

If an aspiring immigrant possesses a skill that is in great demand, an employer may still be unwilling to endure the burdensome process of securing foreign worker certification. The labor certification process was purposely designed to protect U.S. workers. Moreover, the employer is required to bear the full cost of the labor certification process. It may make more sense for an immigrant worker to begin with a temporary nonimmigrant work visa which can be obtained quickly. Temporary visas are often used as a stepping stone to obtaining a permanent residency.

For more information about immigrating to the United States, contact the Gutierrez Law Firm at 210.225.7114.