PERM Immigrant Visas
Visa and Immigration Services Administration ("Visa") is responsible for the filing of all TTUHSC El Paso’s sponsored permanent residence applications. HSC’s Permanent Residency OP can be found at 70.09 (Employment-based Nonimmigrant and Permanent Residency Petitions). Upon request from a department, Visa will file any of the following types of permanent residence applications:
PERM – Permanent Labor Certifications & I-140 (Regular EB-2 and EB-3 filings; Special Handling Permanent Teaching positions & Registered Nurses & Physical Therapists)
Blind market test conducted by employer pursuant to Dept. of Labor (DOL) regulations TTUHSC El Paso is required to show that we could not find a ready, willing and able US worker for the position held by the international employee. The market test is solely a test and does not require the department to terminate employment of the international employee should a US worker be found who is ready, willing and able to perform the job duties. Finding a US worker in this fashion simply means that we cannot move forward with the PERM filing. If the department is unable to find a ready, willing and able US worker for the position, Visa will be able to file the PERM labor certification online with the Department of Labor.
Special Handling PERM:
Similar to the PERM Labor Certification process discussed above, the Special Handling PERM application is set aside for Higher Education Teachers holding permanent positions. The benefit of the Special Handling application is that, unlike the regular PERM process, a new market test does not need to be conducted as long as the initial recruitment effort meets DOL requirements. If it does not meet DOL requirements, the sponsoring department can avail itself to the regular PERM process or re-select the candidate. For the special handling PERM process, DOL requirements are that the employer:
- Conducts a competitive recruitment effort;
- The recruitment should be national in scope;
- At least one of the advertisements for the position was a print ad in a professional journal likely to be viewed by people qualified for the position or an electronic or web-based national professional journal for 30 calendar days; and
- The international employee hired was the best qualified for the position.
The PERM application must be filed within 18 months from the date the position was offered to the teaching faculty member.
Professional Nurses (RNs) and Physical Therapists:
DOL has determined there are not sufficient US workers who are able, willing, qualified and available for Physical Therapy and Professional Nursing positions. In addition, DOL has established that the employment of foreign nationals in these occupations will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US workers similarly employed. Due to these two DOL determinations, filings for professional nurses and Physical Therapists are made directly with USCIS.
National Interest Waiver (NIW) Petition (NON-CLINICAL):
The NIW petition is a two-step process involving the filing of the I-140 (immigrant petition) and I-485 (adjustment of status) only. No initial filing with the Department of Labor (DOL) is required. The NIW category requires that the employer establish that the employee’s professional contributions and career field are of significant importance to the US’ national interests. To meet this requirement, we must show that the employee is working in an area of significance to the US and that the employee is making a significant contribution or playing a significant role in the area.
National Interest Waiver Physician Petition:
This category allows physicians of exceptional ability and individuals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees to get a green card (permanent residence EB-2). For EB-2s, a job offer and a labor certification is generally required. This requirement can be waived if the petitioner demonstrates that granting the EB-2 petition would be in the national interest of the United States. One reason USCIS may grant the national interest waiver is because a physician agrees to work for a period of time in a designated underserved area. The eligibility criteria for a physician NIW is as follows:
- The Physician must agree to work full-time in a clinical practice for a period of service is 5 years;
- The physician must work in a primary care (such as a general practitioner, family practice petitioner, general internist, pediatrician, obstetrician/gynecologist, or psychiatrist) or be a specialty physician;
- The Physician must serve either in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Area (MHPSA – for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA)
- The physician must obtain a statement from a federal agency or a state department of health that has knowledge of your qualifications as a physician and that states your work is in the public interest (This statement is known as an attestation)
Outstanding Researcher/Professor Petition:
The Outstanding Researcher/Professor petition is a two-step process involving the filing of the I-140 (immigrant petition) and I-485 (adjustment of status) only. No initial filing with the Department of Labor (DOL) is required. This category requires that the employer establish that the professor or researcher is internationally recognized as outstanding in the professional field specified in the petition. In addition, every employee must show at least three years of full-time work experience or evidence that the employee was internationally recognized as outstanding during their graduate or post-graduate studies. The burden of proof for the Outstanding Researcher/Professor is much higher than that of most other permanent residence filings because of the international recognition requirement.
To be eligible under the Outstanding Researcher/Professor Category, criteria an employer must include documentation of at least two criteria listed below and an offer of employment.
- Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
- Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
- Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field
- Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
- Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
- Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field
I-485 Application (Adjustment of Status):
The I-485 is the final step of all permanent residence processes. The I-485 is a personal application and, therefore, Visa does not prepare this application on behalf of TTUHSC El Paso’s employees. The employee can retain their own independent attorney to complete the I-485 petition. The I-485 approval will occur after the I-140 has been approved. The employee will first receive an approval notice welcoming them to the US as a permanent resident. The actual permanent residence card (I-551) will arrive in mail, at the address provided on the I-485 form, about 2 – 4 weeks later. Employees should contact Visa as soon as the permanent residence card is received so that immigration, international tax, payroll and I-9 records can be properly updated.
Persons who have been out of status, failed to maintain status, or in violation of status (including unauthorized employment) may not be able to obtain permanent residence (file an I-485) under the employment-based categories EB-1, 2, 3, 4. If you are not sure if you have been out of status or otherwise failed to maintain status, please contact our office immediately and before the I-140 is filed.