EB-2 PERM Process

Please see the Permanent Residence page for basic information on employment-based green cards, and the process of beginning an EB-2 or other permanent residence process at UAMS.

To be eligible for an EB-2 PERM process, the employee must have a Master’s degree or higher, a position which requires that degree, and your hiring department must be willing to sponsor you and pay the required fees for first of three steps of the process.

Step 1: PERM Labor Certification Application

The PERM Labor Certification application is filed electronically with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Prior to filing a PERM application, UAMS is required to show that we could not find a ready, willing and able US worker for the position held by the foreign national employee. The market test is solely a test, however, and does not require the department to terminate employment of the foreign 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.

The Office of Immigration Services works closely with the law firm, hiring department, and HR Talent Acquisition to post advertisements per the Department of Labor’s regulations. If the department is unable to find a ready, willing and able US worker for the position, the law firm will be able to file the PERM labor certification online with the Department of Labor. As mentioned above, if a ready, willing and able US worker is found, the law firm cannot file the PERM labor certification and the application process will stop. The legal standard that must be established is that UAMS has undertaken a good-faith recruitment effort in order to determine the availability of qualified U.S. candidates for the position within 6 months of filing the application.

At present, the processing time for a PERM application at the DOL is approximately 3-4 months. If the PERM is selected for audit, the audit process adds 12 months onto the process. A priority date is established when the PERM Labor Certification is filed. Please notes: The hiring department must pay all fees (attorney fees, recruitment costs, etc.) for this step.

Step 2: I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

After the PERM Labor Certification is approved with DOL, the law firm will file the Form I-140 Immigrant Petition. With the I-140 petition, UAMS provides documents to show that we are offering a permanent position to a nonimmigrant employee; that the nonimmigrant employee met the minimum requirements of the position before coming to UAMS; and that UAMS has the financial ability to pay the offered salary. At present, the processing time for an immigrant visa petition at the USCIS is approximately 8-10 months. It is possible to premium process the immigrant visa petition in which the USCIS will adjudicate the petition within 15 days.

Once the I-140 Immigrant Petition is approved, employees must wait until their priority date is current before proceeding to the final step. You may find the current priority dates for I-485 filing at the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin website. Some foreign nationals must wait 8-10 years before they are able to proceed to the final I-485 step and obtain their green card due to per-country limitations. H-1B nonimmigrant employees whose EB category is backlogged, and they are therefore unable to file the final I-485 step, may be eligible for extensions of their H-1B status beyond the typical 6 year maximum. Contact the Immigration Services Office if you have questions related to extensions of your H-1B or other nonimmigrant status during your green card process.

Step 3: I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

The final step is to file the Form I-485, which is an application to USCIS from the employee requesting their status be “adjusted” from a non-immigrant to an immigrant (Legal Permanent Resident). At present, the processing time for an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application is approximately 12-18 months. All I-485 processes based on an EB category are required to attend an in-person green card interview at a USCIS field office.

Once You Have Your Green Card

Employees should contact the Immigration Services Office as soon as the permanent resident card is received so that immigration, international tax, payroll and I-9 records can be properly updated.