Special Handling PERM for University and College Teachers

Special Handling cases are employer sponsored labor certification applications, which are limited to teaching positions at qualified educational institutions.  Special Handling provides a great channel for teaching positions at accredited educational institutions that offer two-year associate degrees or higher degrees. This section will briefly address the "Special Handling" procedures. Interested faculty members should feel free their questions to info@hooyou.com.

What are the key things you need to know before applying for Special Handling?

  • Position must involve teaching

Special Handling is limited only to teaching positions at institutions of higher education, which means the position must involve some amount of actual classroom teaching. Faculty members are not necessarily teachers, thus, non-teaching positions such as researchers, librarians and other administrative staff must be processed under the regular PERM process.

  • Filing within 18 Months of Formal Selection Decision

An important aspect of the Special Handling case is that the application for Special handling must be filed within 18 months from the date that the alien was selected for the position by a nationwide competitive recruitment and selection process.  If the application is not filed within 18 months, then the alien will not be eligible for Special Handling. The recruitment procedure must be very extensive and well documented by the university or college, indicating the procedures involved in the selection and recruitment.

  • One Print Advertisement  in a Professional Journal
The position that the alien has received must have been advertised during the recruitment process in a national professional journal (such as Chronicle of Higher Education), before selection. The advertisement must have been posted at least one on the hard copy version of the journal.  This advertisement must contain the job title, duties, and requirements, but the wage offered is not necessary. A copy of this advertisement (at least one advertisement) must be provided with the name and date of publication.

Employer requirements to file for Special Handling

The following is a list of requirements that must be fulfilled by the employer in order for the applicant to be eligible for Special Handling.

  1. The university or the college must have an established tenure track position selection procedure;
  2. The selection of the position must go through the procedure and be made by the selection or recruitment committee;
  3. Petition must be filed within 18 months of date that the alien was selected for the position;
  4. At least one posting on hard copy version of a nationwide professional journal (can be more than 18 months old);
  5. Documentation of other recruitment activities;
  6. Documentation of the steps of interviews and evaluations;
  7. Post an internal job posting for at least 10 consecutive business days of the positing in details with salary information.  This step must occur at least 30 days but no more than 180 days before filing the application; or a notice of such opening has been properly notified with the bargain representative if the position is a unionized position.
  8. Must obtain prevailing wage determination from the state wage agent (SWA);
  9. Statement details the selection procedure and statement testifies the alien’s credentials and qualifications.

Minimally Qualified Requirement vs. More Qualified

  • Minimally Qualified

The minimally qualified vs. more qualified distinction plays an important role depending on the job’s teaching status that the alien has been offered.  If the job does not contain a teaching component, then the alien will be subject to the minimally qualified requirement, in which he must prove that there is no qualified U.S. worker available to accept the job offer. A qualified U.S. worker means any U.S. worker who meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of education and experiences as claimed in the PERM process. Unfortunately, this means that if even one interested U.S. worker meets the minimum requirements for the offered position, the labor certification application will be denied even if the alien is the most qualified person for the offered position.

  • More Qualified

However, if the alien holds a teaching position, then the alien will be subject to the more qualified standard.  In this standard, the application for labor certification can be approved if it is shown that there are no U.S. workers who are at least equally qualified when compared to the alien teacher. Therefore, the application can be approved even if several U.S. workers meet the minimum requirements for the offered position but none are equally qualified as the alien. In other words, if the alien teacher is found to be more qualified (i.e. more skilled and experienced) than any of the U.S. workers who apply for the job, the labor certification should be approved by the DOL.


John and Jen are both from India and have received two positions at Ohio State University.  John will be an assistant professor in the Business school, while Jen has received a position as a post-doctoral researching in the Psychology Department.  John’s position involves teaching classes and research, whereas Jen’s position is simply a research position.  John will be subject to the lower standard, more qualified, since his job requires him to teach, while Jen will be subject to the minimally qualified standard. Therefore, if John can show that he is more qualified than the US workers who want the same position, if any, his LC may be approved, while Jen must show that there are no US workers minimally qualified and willing to take the job in order for her Labor Certification to be approved.

Procedural Criteria

1. Employer must conduct prior recruitment efforts. The application must be filed within 18 months from the date that the alien teacher was selected by a competitive recruitment and selection process for the position.

2. The position must have been advertised in a national professional journal during the recruitment process before selection. The advertisement must have specified the job title, duties, and requirements. The wage offered need not be included.

3. A detailed statement describing the recruitment procedure signed by a college or university official who has actual hiring authority must be included with the application. The selection committee that recommended appointment of the foreign worker should submit a signed final report or summary of the recruitment results. A general statement is not acceptable. Documentation must include:

· Total number of applicants for the position;
· Specific, job-related reasons why the foreign worker was found more qualified than the U.S. workers who applied.

4. A notice must be posted internally at the work site to announce to the employer's employees the filing of the Application for Foreign Worker Employment Certification. The posting must be for ten (10) consecutive business days. If the position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the employer must notify the bargaining representative of the filing of the Application. If it is a unionized position, properly notice of filing must be provided with the bargain representative.


Ken received a teaching position as an assistant professor in marketing on March 1, 2006 and will begin working for the university in September.  The university has a policy of sponsoring labor certification after one year of employment.  After taking the position and working there for one year, Ken applies for labor certification.  Unfortunately, since he was offered the job in March 2006 and now it is September 2007, more than 18 months have passed since the offer date and he is unable to apply through Special Handling. Ken can still apply through the regular PERM process, EB-1, or the NIW, which may be better in this case.

Jen received a teaching job offer from Stanford as a professor 10 months ago and wishes to apply for Special Handling.  The position she received was never advertised in a national professional journal during the recruitment process. Due to this, she is unable to apply through Special Handling for labor certification. But she may consider applying through the regular PERM process or file another petition, like the NIW or EB-1 (b).

Ken received a teaching job from Kansas State University 8 months ago, which was advertised in a national professional journal. He wishes to get labor certification now and can apply through Special Handling, since he meets the requirements.  However, he can also get labor certification by using the regular PERM process if he chooses to, or file a NIW or EB-1 petition.

Documents and Information Needed

For detailed documents and information needed to prepare the LC application in Special Handling processing, please click here.


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