US Companies can sponsor foreign workers to work for them on full time bases. This requires the employer, the company, to file what’s called the labor certification application with the department of labor. This is a prerequisite to filing the I-140 petition. The department of labor wants to make sure that there are no US local workers who can fill this position. The process of obtaining the labor certification approval takes between 4-7 months, assuming no US workers applied whose experience matches the required duties for the position. In so many cases, the department of labor approves the case based on proving by the employer that there were no available US workers to fill the position and that the position was detailed in nature that no one in the requested employment area was available to fill the position.
The process requires form the employer to obtain a “prevailing wage “from the department of labor which sets the salary to be paid by the employer for the prospective employee. Later on, the employer must place two newspaper advertisement in a major newspaper covering the area where the employment will take place. There is some additional advertising requirement that the employer must complete, based on the nature of the position. For an example, a company looking to hire a professional requires placing additional ads in different media.
Once the labor certification gets approved, the employer can file what’s called the I-140, immigrant petition for alien worker on behalf of the foreign worker. It is possible that the employer files for I-485, or what’s called the green card petition along with the I-140 petition if the priority date is current which usually happens for advanced degree positions and based on the country of birth of the prospective worker.(some countries cannot file simultaneously such as India, China and Mexico because of the long waiting list for workers applying from these countries). This process takes a year in most cases and the foreign worker can immediately start working for his new employer. If the employee was overseas, the petition is sent to the American Embassy covering the place where the worker resides.
The green card is given to the worker and his immediate family members, spouse and children less than 21 years of age. Later on, the worker can apply for his US citizenship in 5 years from the date s/he receives the green card, the permanent resident card. finally, the immigration filing fees are usually less than $2000, for the I-140 and the green card.