The most common path by which nonimmigrant employees are granted permanent residence status (Green Card) involves three steps: Labor Certification Application (PERM), Immigrant Visa Petition (I-140), and Application for Permanent Residence (Adjustment).
The Labor Certification Application is the first step in the permanent residence process. The employer must obtain a certified labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) that certifies that there are no able, willing, qualified and available U.S. workers to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The process involves several, sequential tasks completed by the attorney, the employer, and the employee including identifying the job description/minimum requirements, recruitment, and Labor Certification filing. Labor Certification is not required for the preference category reserved for individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers and executives.
After the Labor Certification Application is certified by DOL, the employer submits the approved Labor Certification to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and additional documentation attesting that the employee possesses the minimum qualifications stated on the Labor Certification and that the employer has the ability to pay the wage.
Upon the approval of the I-140, the employee files with USCIS to adjust his/her employment based nonimmigrant status to that of a lawful permanent resident also known as an immigrant visa or green card.