Go to the head of the class: Obtain your Green Card through Special Handling option under the PERM Process

Classroom.jpgColleges and Universities have a unique option when applying for the Green Card/Legal Permanent Resident Status of Professors and Teachers through Labor Certification under the PERM process. Many of the additional recruitment steps required by the PERM process for Alien Labor Certification can be avoided by use of what is called “Special Handling.” Obtaining a Green Card through the Special handling option is often a desirable alternative to the traditional PERM process used for the majority of professional positions. This option benefits both the College/Universities and the hired Professor as it allows the employer to pick the Professor that they want, while saving the Professor the time that it would have taken to conduct the normal recruitment steps under PERM.

The Theory of Special Handling: Colleges and Universities are in the best position to know which applicant is “more qualified” than the next

The PERM process for applying for a Green Card is based on the theory that employers need to show that there are no ready, willing and available workers to fill a specific job before an employer is allowed to apply for the Green Card of an alien. Wisely, the Federal Government has recognized that Universities and Colleges are different than the normal employer. Specifically, Universities and Colleges have a need to recruit the best and brightest minds in the world to fill teaching positions. Therefore, all that is needed to show on a Labor Certification application filed under the Special Handling option for PERM, is that the selected alien is “more qualified” than the other applicants.

The main points of recruitment under the Special Handling Option

The hiring University of College must show that the selection of the professor was made only after a competitive, nationwide search for qualified applicants. The position must have been advertised in a national professional journal. The College or University must document the recruitment process in detail, keeping meticulous records of the applicants and interview process. It is usually beneficial for the University or College to conduct additional avenues of recruitment including newspaper advertisements and advertisements in journals that are targeted toward a particular category or type of professor. Taking additional recruitment measures will re-enforce to the Federal Government that the recruitment campaign was indeed competitive, resulting in the best person for the job being hired.

Timing Issues and Other Mandatory Steps Under Special Handling

The hiring University of College has 18 months to file the Labor Certification Application (ETA 9089) after the selection of a professor has been made. The employer must also apply for and obtain a prevailing wage determination for the position. Finally, posting notice or notification to the collective bargaining representative needs to be made, stating that the University or College plans to file a Green Card petition on behalf of a professor.


If you are a University, College or Professor and you believe that Special Handling may provide the solution to your immigration need, please do not hesitate to contact our offices. 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.