The DOL has recently posted a "FAQ" to clarify that university professors and instructors using the "special handling" option for the PERM labor certification must still obtain a prevailing wage determination before filing the PERM application.
Not sure what this means? Well, in general, if a person is trying to obtain permanent residence (a "green card") through their employer, generally speaking, that person must first go through the PERM labor certification process. There are exceptions to this general rule, of course, but that's another article entirely. Generally speaking, the PERM labor certification process requires a very specific recruitment process where the employer posts newspaper ads, website ads, etc to advertise the position in question. However, certain university personnel can use the "special handling" process for the PERM labor certification. This is available for university professors and instructors who have teaching duties. No teaching duties, no special handling.
The DOL regulations state that under special handling, the university does not necessarily have to re-conduct the recruitment, as is usually required in most PERM cases. Rather, the university can use the recruitment that they used to hire the foreign national, assuming it meets certain requirements. However, this DOL FAQ does confirm that a prevailing wage determination is required prior to filing the PERM labor certification application.
Why should you care?
Well, if you are a foreign national teaching at a university and are looking for a green card, this may be a key part of your green card process. More specifically, it can take anywhere from a few weeks, to recently, a few months to receive the prevailing wage determination. And as indicated above, we must have the determination before we file the labor certification. And further, even if you use the special handling process, there are certain timelines that you must adhere to in filing the application. So if you start the application at the last minute, you may not have the determination before you have to file the labor certification. Therefore, you should plan ahead and start the process as soon as possible so that you avoid any time-crunching, stressful events for you and your employer (and your immigration attorney!).
Still lost as to what this all means? That's why Sumner Immigration Law is here! To provide clarity and strength in your immigration experience. Contact us today with questions or to set a consultation - firstname.lastname@example.org.