Is it possible to get a Green Card through my employer?
Yes. There is a process by which an employer can sponsor an employee to obtain a Green Card. That process is called the “Labor Certification Process.”
What is the Labor Certification process?
The process is as follows:
The worker receives an offer of employment from the employer,
The employer then puts announcements in the newspaper, at the state unemployment office and at his place of employment looking for people interested in the job to determine that there aren’t any US Citizen or Green Card holders that are interested in the offered position,
If nobody responds to the announcements during the specific time frame, then it is possible that the person that is trying to qualify for a Green Card through that employer can receive Permanent Resident Status. But, if a person that is US Citizen or Green Card holder wants the job, the Labor Certification process must be stopped as the position has been filled by a person authorized to work in the US.
Is there any way for me to potentially get a Green Card through my employer if I am already here working illegally?
Maybe. If you have a separate application that was filed on your behalf or on behalf of an immediate family member before April 30, 2001, then you might use this exception to get your Green Card inside the United States. However, most people likely do not have an application filed for them before this date, so if they were to get a Labor Certification filed and approved, upon leaving to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to get their Green Card in hand, they would likely incur a 10-year bar.
What is the 10-year bar?
The 10-year bar is a punishment created in 1997 that punishes people who came and lived in the US illegally for more than a year. Therefore, if a person entered the US illegally and has been working illegally for over 1 year, they would be required to remain outside the US for a 10-year period before being able to return to the US legally.
What if a person has never been in the US illegally, can they qualify for the Labor Certification without having this 10-year?
Yes. Our office has obtained Green Cards through the Labor Certification for hundreds of people that did not have the 10-year bar.
What should I do to determine if I qualify for a Labor Certification?
You, the employee, should talk to an immigration attorney before discussing this process with a potential employer to determine if this is something you are eligible for given your specific immigration history.
Thomas W. Roach and Eamonn P.S. Roach are attorneys of the firm Roach & Bishop, LLP in Pasco, Washington, who practice immigration law. This information does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that this information does not apply to you. Each case depends on specific facts. If you have questions regarding the immigration laws that you would like answered in this column, please send them to: Thomas W. Roach and Eamonn P.S. Roach, 9221 Sandifur Pkwy, Suite C., Pasco, WA 99301, phone: (509) 547-7587, fax: (509) 547-7745; or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com