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PERM: The Most Common Green Card Path

Most foreign nationals seeking to obtain permanent residence through employment must have a permanent job offer from an employer who is willing to sponsor them. Before any immigrant petition can be filed, a labor certification which demonstrates that there are no American workers able, willing, qualified and available for the position must be obtained from the Department of Labor. The procedure for obtaining the labor certification is commonly referred to as PERM.

The PERM process is a great option for individuals who are not eligible for any of the self-petitioning categories (EB-1A, EB-1B or EB-2 National Interest Waiver) and requires the applicant to demonstrate only that he or she meets the minimum requirements for the position, rather than showing a level of accomplishments far above others in the field.

PERM applies to several categories of workers. First, it may apply to workers in the EB-2 category with advanced degrees or exceptional ability whose work cannot qualify them for a National Interest Waiver. An advanced degree is defined as any degree higher than a Bachelor's, or a bachelor's degree followed by at least 5 years progressive experience in the applicant's field of specialization. PERM may also apply to the EB-3 category. This category covers many kinds of workers, including:

  • Professionals with a U.S. Bachelor's Degree or the equivalent;
  • Skilled workers in positions requiring two years of training or experience; or
  • Workers in positions requiring less than two years of education, training or experience.

While complex and lengthy, the PERM labor certification process is the most common way for foreign nationals to gain permanent resident status. While there are many steps on the road to the green card, it is a well-established path offering a broad range of applicants the opportunity to attain their immigration goals. If you're interested in employment-based sponsorship, please schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss whether PERM is the best option for you.