CIS Petition Process
Permanent residence is only obtained after approval of an immigrant visa petition by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Specific forms are required, together with detailed documentation supporting either the employment or family relationship.
For those employment-based immigrant visa petitions which require a showing of shortage of available American workers, there is a process called “labor certification.” This process involves the general advertising of the job opening. The employer must publicly offer to pay the prevailing wage for that position. The job may not be “tailored” for the foreign worker.
The qualifications of each person who responds to the advertising must be carefully compared against the minimum requirements for the position. Only when it can be demonstrated that there are no US workers available for the position at the prevailing wage is a labor certification successful. The process is supervised by state employment agencies and the federal Department of Labor. Most labor certifications are ultimately successful.
Adjustment of Status or Immigrant Visa
Each person who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition must be screened for individual eligibility to immigrate. There are classes of approved beneficiaries who may not be permitted to immigrate, such as criminals and prostitutes. There are also less obvious classes of people who may be barred from entry, such as those who have entered the US on certain types of J visas, or those who have committed visa fraud. Some of the “grounds of excludability” can be “waived” or pardoned.
Screening for immigration can occur at a US consulate abroad [resulting in the issuance of an immigrant visa] or at an office of the CIS in the US [resulting in the adjustment of status to that of permanent residence]. Choice of procedure depends upon eligibility of the individual, relative backlogs at the alternative interview sites, the ability to obtain review of a negative decision and the convenience of the employer, individual and family.