When I think about all the green card PERM applications that I filed on behalf of my clients throughout the past 17 years few steps come to mind that are worthy of special note. Earlier on in my career, I am fortunate to have been mentored by some of the best immigration lawyers in the country. One once told me, “when you draft a PERM application, remember to remind your client that his green card resides within the certain fields in the application form itself.” Said differently, the manner in which the PERM labor certification application is planned earlier on is the most foundational cornerstone of a successful green card application.
A PERM application is intended to test the market to make certain that there are no US Citizens who meet the minimum qualifications for the position and who are willing to accept the particular job. Hence, it is essential that the actual minimum requirements for the position are identified and are reflected in the application. It must be noted that the recruitment campaign inherent in the PERM labor certification process is fictitious in nature; that is to say that federal regulations require the recruitment to be undertaken by the employer, however, no US Citizen will be in fact employed even though one may be found to qualify for the position.
A successful PERM green card application is one that creates an early partnership between counsel, the employer and the employee whereby the flow of information is maintained at the highest level to assure that the application reaches the optimum point in content. These cardinal rules prompted me to write this blog article on how experienced immigration counsel should plan out a successful PERM application:
1. Initial Meeting with Employer & Employee: This meeting is crucial to set forth the entire process, to identify the stakeholders in the process and their respective roles and to normalize expectations. This meeting must be undertaken at the initial steps in the PERM labor certification process.
2. Date Collection stage: This is another foundational stage which focuses on the position itself, the potential minimum requirements; remember a strong PERM application is one that reflect the true minimum qualifications about the position and these qualifications will be discovered through this step. Counsel should find out what skills the alien possessed prior to her employment with the employer. After all, it is this particular alien who was chosen for THIS opportunity and her particular background certainly played a role in her selection.
3. Case Workshop Stage: The case workshop is a “brainstorming” session undertaken by the lawyer, the employer and the employee. The objective of this session is to bring together all of the information gathered and to share what the law allows, what the employer was looking for, and what the employee may offer in the way of educational and professional credentials. The combination of this information will come to the forefront during the case workshop meeting. Counsel will lend his knowledge as to what the law will allow as far as the selection of the minimum requirements. The employer, on the other hand knows what particular skills are important to perform the duties of the position successfully. The employee knows what she is able to offer in the way of prior experience.
4. Drafting the Application: Once the PERM case workshop is complete, the immigration lawyer should now be armed with sufficient information upon which the PERM application will be drafted. Once the application is drafted, the lawyer is now able to propose the language for the advertisement which will be used in the recruitment campaign. One now should be able to see the value of the additional time spent earlier in the planning of the PERM labor certification process.
5. The Recruitment Campaign: There are certain recruitment steps undertaken in the PERM labor certification regulations. These steps are mandatory and must be undertaken. What we have control over is the actual language included in the advertisement. The law allows the employer to draft either broad or specific advertisement language so long as it is done in good faith. I personally prefer that the language of the to be as specific as possible so that the resumes received from US Workers maybe quickly evaluated and addressed.
6. The Audit File: Contemporaneously with the lawyer should prepare an audit file as experience shows about 37% of all PERM cases will be audited. It is best to make certain that all recruitment steps, prevailing wage reports and other relevant documents are placed together in one central place. It will make easier to disseminate to the US Department of Labor should there be an audit in the future.
7. Filing the PERM Labor Certification Application: A draft of the application must be sent to the employer and employee for review prior to filing. An experienced counsel will also have the application reviewed in house by another attorney to make certain that there are no typos or missing information. You can see that this is a critical process and one that does not allow room for errors.
These are the steps that must be taken in order to assure that the optimum application; one that captures the best information regarding the position and the employee’s credentials. Without these steps, lawyers are left to guess these issues by looking at the employee’s resume, a fact which, in my mind, will compromise the employees interests in the 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.