For employers who have foreign nationals in H-1B status and wish to sponsor them for permanent residence, it is a good idea to start the PERM labor certification process early.

In most instances, labor certification is the first step towards obtaining a green card through employment.  It requires undergoing a recruitment process for the position and certification by the employer that no US workers were qualified and available for the position.  This is not always a simple task and has been referred to as the “root canal” of immigration law!

When a foreign national is in H-1B status, in order to extend their status beyond six years, the PERM application must be filed before the fifth year anniversary of the person’s H-1B status.  If this is not done, absent other avenues to immigrate to the US that may be available to an individual, the beneficiary will need to leave the US for a year before reapplying for H-1B status.

Therefore, to avoid a situation where issues arise with the PERM process, it is best to start recruitment, file early and preserve a priority date that will allow the continuity of H-1B employment.

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