FEBRUARY 2011
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Immigration

PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

Dilip Patel

By DILIP PATEL
(www.dplawfirm.com)

Most foreign nationals who wish to be eligible for employment-based green cards must do so through the PERM labor certification process by having their employer file a labor certification application with the Department of Labor (DOL). The PERM application certifies that there are no U.S. workers who are willing, able, or available to fill a position offered by an American employer, and the employer must undertake extensive recruitment to prove such. The PERM application also certifies that the employer will pay the sponsored employee the prevailing wage for the job. Once approved or “certified,” the foreign-national employee can petition USCIS for eligibility under one of the employment-based preference categories by filing an I-140 immigrant visa petition.

The largely automated PERM program was introduced in March 2005 and touted by DOL as a new and retooled expedited labor certification process through which employers could begin their sponsorship of valued employees. Nevertheless, the PERM process remains laborious and complicated.

Over the past five years through the issuance of FAQs — DOL’s 11th and latest was issued in August — DOL has retroactively applied new rules to old cases and used the informal FAQ process to create or change its requirements. By forgoing the more formal route of promulgating regulations, which would afford public comment and mandate government consideration, the program remains riddled with deficiencies and uncertainties for employers. Moreover, the application takes about four to six months to prepare, plus another nine to 10 months for processing by DOL (from online submission to adjudication). And, if DOL requests that the employer’s recruitment and other records be audited, another 15 months will be tacked on for a DOL audit response. Beyond the changing rules and lengthy processing times, perhaps the most disheartening aspect of the process is how unforgiving it is — even the tiniest error on the PERM application can completely derail a case.

So, why do employers and their employees bother? Despite these and other hurdles inherent in the PERM labor certification process, this route to permanent residence is often the only viable option for many needed employees. And, the process eventually works: long-time nonimmigrant employees and their families can become green card holders and, later, citizens of the United States. However, employers who anticipate long-term sponsorship of current employees must take particular care to ensure consistency throughout what can be a multi-process, nine- to 10-year immigration odyssey. This can be difficult, especially when the immigration laws are not consistent. For example, a foreign national can be a “professional” for H-1B purposes on the basis of experience and education but not for immigrant visa purposes. Employers also must take care to timely file their PERM applications, especially when their H-1B employees are approaching their final year of their visa status. Indeed, long-term immigration strategies must be considered when hiring H-1Bs.

Until this system changes, employers and their immigration counsel should actively review pending cases to determine whether additional documentation is required to meet ever-changing DOL requirements. Counsel and employers also are advised to determine from the start the best short- and long-term strategies for their employees.

MISUSE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER CONSIDERED A ‘CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE,’ EIGHTH CIRCUIT RULES

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently joined two other circuits in ruling that a conviction for misuse of a Social Security number is a “crime involving moral turpitude,” and has the effect of precluding foreign nationals from becoming lawful permanent residents. In a unanimous decision, the Eighth Circuit (covering Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) rejected an appeal to cancel the deportation of a Salvadoran man who was found guilty of misusing a Social Security number, labeling his act a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT). A CIMT, unlike most misdemeanors and some felonies, makes a foreign national inadmissible (ineligible to enter the United States) as well as deportable (removable from the United States if already here).

In categorizing the misuse of a Social Security number as a CIMT, the Eighth Circuit adopts the approach long held by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the administrative appellate court that hears appeals from decisions of the immigration courts. The Sixth and Ninth Circuits have also previously adopted this interpretation; however, not all courts of appeals have. Thus, not all foreign nationals who appeal their cases will be governed by this interpretation.

Clearly, misuse of Social Security numbers can have drastic consequences. Foreign nationals who may be subject to application of this category are encouraged to contact immigration counsel to discuss the possible ramifications on their case.

Dilip Patel of Dilip Patel Law Firm (Business and Immigration Attorneys) is board certified in immigration and nationality law. He can be reached at (813) 855-0066, e-mail dpatel@dplawfirm.com or visit www.dplawfirm.com

homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontentclasses/places of worshipnewseditorialhealthimmigrationfinance
techno cornermoviesfashionmusic/dancebookshome improvementastrologycuisinemotoringgetawayclassifiedsARCHIVES
Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Getaway Motoring Cuisine Astrology Home Improvement Books Music and Dance Fashion Movies Techno Corner Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Classes/Places of Worship Content Find us on Facebook!