Q: What is DOL?
A: DOL stands for Department of Labor. This is the agency of the U.S. government that, through its two national processing centers in Atlanta and Chicago, adjudicates PERM Labor Certification applications for the whole nation.
Q: Who is handling my case if I retain Z&A?
A: Our attorneys handle their clients' cases individually by preparing petition letters, contacting clients, and following up pending cases. That's why we have more attorneys than clerks. Our clerks' main objective is to help attorneys prepare clients' packages, and each client's package will be reviewed by one of our most experienced attorneys for final checking before sending out the package.
Q: What does PERM stand for?
A: PERM is short for Program Electronic Review Management process”. PERM is the currenta new system of Labor Certification application.
Q: Which government agencies are involved in Special Handling PERM PERM Labor Certification?
A: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the individual State Wage Agencies (SWA)National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) will be involved in the Special Handling PERM PERM Labor Certification. The USCIS is not involved in anythe PERM process.
Q: What is Special Handling?
A: Special Hhandling is an employer sponsored labor certification application limited to teaching positions at qualified educational institutions.
Q: Are there any special requirements or hurdles to applying for Special Handling?
A: Yes, there are several special requirements for Special Handling:
Another disadvantage to this process is that the employer must be qualified, meaning that colleges or universities must be recognized by the federal or state government as institutions of higher learning and provide bachelors or higher degrees, or offer courses that can be used as credit to such a degree. This means that elementary or secondary schools are not qualified employers in this process.
A third disadvantage to this process is that in order to qualify for Special Handling, one must be offered a teaching position at an institution of higher education, This means non-teaching positions such as researchers, librarians and other administrative staff must be processed under the regular alien Labor Certification process.
Q: Who qualifies for Special Handling?
A: Those seeking teaching positions at accredited educational institutions, such as universities, junior colleges and community colleges that offer two-year associate degrees or higher degrees.
Q: What does it mean that the employer must be qualified?
A: For Special Handling aThe qualified employers is ameans that the colleges or universitiyes that admits students with a high school diploma or equivalent diplomagraduates (12th grade), isare recognized by the federal or state government as an institutions of higher learning, and provides bachelor’s or higher degrees, or offer courses that can be used as credit to such a degree. Elementary or secondary schools are not qualified employers in this process.
Q: To apply for Special Handling, must I teach or can I just do research and have a non-teaching position?
A: In order to be eligible for Special Handling, the applicant must be offered a teaching position at institutions of higher education. T, whisch means the position must involve some amount of actual classroom teaching. NThis means that non-teaching positions such as researchers, librarians and other administrative staff that do not contain any teaching elements in their job descriptions must be processed under the regular alien PERM process.
Q: Do only positions as professors qualify for Special Handling?
A: No. Other positions at institutions of higher education selected through a competitive national selection process may qualify for Special Handling if the job involves teaching (such as lecturers or instructors). Librarians with instructing requirements or Psychologists who teach classes in addition to counseling are examples of non-professor positions which may qualify for Special Handling.
Q: Does an employer have to obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the NPWC for Special Handling positions?
A: Yes, an employer must obtain a PWD from the NPWC when filing through Special Handling.
Q: What is a “actual wage” rate for a teaching position?
A: An “actual wage” rate is the wage paid to employees with the same position and with similar experience and qualifications at an institution of higher education, or within specific departments of an institution.
Q: Are there any wage requirements placed on the employer?
A: Yes. The law requires that the wages paid to the alien teacher must be, at minimum, at least the higher of either: the “actual wage” rate paid to all other teachers with similar experiences and qualifications for the specific employment in question ORor the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment.
The law does not preclude the employer from paying more than the higher of the actual wage or the prevailing wage. A NPWC Prevailing Wage Determination must be requested by the employer prior to submittal of the application. If the wage rate for the position is determined by a collective bargaining agreement, that rate is controlling.
Example: The University of Wisconsin’s Department of Political Science is recruiting for a professor under Special Handling. The Department obtains a PWD from NPWC which lists the salary for the position at $82,173. However, the “actual wage” paid at the Department to other similarly experienced teachers is only $80,000. Therefore, the Department will have to pay the alien at least the prevailing wage of $82,173 since it is higher than the “actual wage.”
Example: The University of Washington’s Communications Department is recruiting for a professor under Special Handling. The “actual wage” for professors in the department is $73,000. The PWD for the position is $67,450. Since the “actual wage” is higher than the PWD, the Department will have to offer at least the “actual wage” of $73,000 for the position.
The law does not preclude the employer from paying more than the higher of the actual wage or the prevailing wage. State Employment and Security Agency (SESA) may provide the employer with a prevailing wage determination prior to submittal of the application if so requested. If the wage rate for the position is determined by a collective bargaining agreement, that rate is controlling.
Q: Does an employer have to file under Special Handling for a teaching position at an institution of higher education?
A: No, an employer can file under the regular PERM process or through Special Handling for a teaching position at a university or college. The Special Handling process is designed to accommodate normal university and college recruitment procedures, but it is not required that institutions of higher education file under Special Handling.
Q: If an alien is more qualified than minimally qualified US applicants, will the Special Handling LC be successful?
A: Yes. If an alien is more qualified that all other applicants, even those who meet the minimum qualifications, an employer will be able to file a Special Handling PERM for the alien. This is known as the superior qualification standard for Special Handling.
Q: What if there are US applicants who are as qualified as the alien?
A: For Special Handling, if a US applicant is found to be as qualified as the alien, a Special Handling PERM will not be successful.
Q: Does the superior qualification standard apply to college or university teaching positions filed under regular PERM?
A: Yes. Even though other recruitment procedures are different for regular PERM, if an employer files for a college or university teacher they are allowed to use the superior qualification standard.
Q: What if there are US workers who meet the minimum requirement for the position I wish to apply for?
A: If the applicant files through Special Handling or PERM and there exists US workers who meet the minimum requirement for the same position, but the applicant is more skilled than these workers, then the labor certification should be approved only if the position that the alien is applying for requires teaching. If there is no teaching involved, then that LC will not be successful, if he is at least minimally qualified.
Example: Jack and Claire are from China and have received positions to work at University of Houston. Jack has received a position as a librarian, while Claire will have a teaching position in the Biology Department. After submitting his application to receive labor certification, it was noted that there were US workers that wanted the same position as Jack, but were less qualified than him, but met the minimum requirements. Jack’s LC will not be successful. In Jen’s case, there were US workers who were minimally qualified for the position, but Jen was more qualified or the most qualified for the teaching position and her LC should be approved.
Q: Is there a time limit that I need to file the Special Handling applications within?
A: Yes, the Special Handling application must be filed within 18 months of the alien teacher being selected by a competitive recruitment and selection process.
Q: Is the date of selection the only date that counts for determining the 18 month deadline?
A: No, in some situations if the date of selection is unclear the date that the job is offered to the employee may count as the starting date for the 18 month filing deadline.
Q: Does the position I have been accepted to and wish to file Special Handling for needhad to have been advertised?
A: Yes, the position that one seeks to file the Special Handling application for must have been advertised in a national professional journal (at least one) during the recruitment process before selection. The advertisement must have specified the job title, duties, and requirements. This requirement is less extensive than documentation required by other petitions, such as EB-1 or NIW, which need letters of recommendation and documentation of publications, citations, and presentations.
Q: Is the employer permitted to use an electronic or web-based national professional journal instead of a print journal when conducting recruitment under 20 CFR 656.18, Optional special recruitment and documentation procedures for college and university teachers?
A: Yes, an employer may use an electronic or web-based national professional journal to satisfy the provision found at 20 CFR 656.18(b)(3), which requires use of a national professional journal for advertisements for college or university teachers. The electronic or web-based journal’s job listings must be viewable to the public without payment of subscription and/or membership charges. The advertisement for the job opportunity for which certification is sought must be posted for at least 30 calendar days on the journal’s website. Documentation of the placement of an advertisement in an electronic or web-based national professional journal must include evidence of the start and end dates of the advertisement placement and the text of the advertisement.
Q: What types of publications qualify as a national professional journal for Special Handling?
A: The most commonly used publication for Special Handling is The Chronicle of Higher Education. Other discipline-specific journals may qualify, permitted that they are professional journals with a national readership.
Q: Does a Special Handling petition require the employer to post a job order with a State Workforce Agency?
A: No, for Special Handling cases an employer does not have to post a job order through a State Workforce Agency. This is in contrast to the regular PERM process which does require such a job posting.
Q: Must a Notice of Filing (NOF) be posted for Special Handling cases?
A: Yes, an employer must post a NOF for 10 consecutive business days in Special Handling cases.
Q: Does the NOF have to state the offered wage for a Special Handling position?
A: No, an offered wage does not need to be listed on a Special Handling NOF. For regular PERM petitions a NOF must contain the wage offered to the alien beneficiary.
Q: Does an employer have to post a Notice of Filing (NOF) during the Special Handling recruitment process?
A: No. In Special Handling cases a NOF can be filed after the recruitment and selection process has ended. The NOF posting period must end at least 30 days but no more than 180 days before submitting a Special Handling PERM. An employer does not have to post a Notice of Filing during the recruitment process under Special Handling guidelines.
Q: Do I need to include any documentation ofn the recruitment processdure in support of with my Special Handling application?
A: Yes, a detailed statement describing the recruitment processdure signed by a college or university official who has actual hiring authority must be provided. 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:
Q: Do private for-profit institutions qualify as employers for Special Handling?
A: No, private for-profit institutions are not considered qualified employers for Special Handling. An institution of higher education must be public or private and non-profit to qualify as a Special Handling employer.
Q: Do positions as visiting professors meet the requirements for Special Handling?
A: Usually not. For a position to qualify for Special Handling or any other PERM processing it must be for permanent full-time employment. Since visiting professorships usually have a fixed period of employment they normally do not qualify for Special Handling.
Q: What are the benefits of Regular PERM or Special Handling PERM over filing an NIW?
A: Applying through Special Handling or the Regular PERM process requires much less documentation to be provided by the applicant himself/herself. When applying for a NIW, the applicant must supply all publications, citations, abstracts, invitations to conferences, honors or awards, memberships in professional associations, and letters of recommendation. Many times these items are difficult for an applicant to obtain, especially the strong letters of recommendation. Furthermore, if the applicant is a recent graduate and does not have many publications or invitations to conferences, it may be difficult to obtain athe NIW.
However, NIW has its unparalleled advantages in that that applicant is not as dependent on the employer to get the petition, as it is mainly an independent process. , The applicant does not require to a job offer at the moment and can petition for himself or herself. Also, the NIW avoids the labor certification process entirely.
Q: What are the benefits of Regular PERM or Special Handling PERM over filing an EB-1 (b) petition?
A: The EB-1 (b) petition, like the NIW, requires much more documentation on the behalf of the applicant than Regular PERM and Special Handling requires. For example, the applicant must present publications, citations, peer-reviewed presentations at symposia, and letters of recommendations. Due to this, it may be simpler for anthe alien to apply though Special Handling PERM for teaching positions. Again, EB-1 petitions have advantages, as there is no time limit that one needs to file the EB-1 petition, and labor certification is not required for the EB-1 petition.
Q: How do I know if I should apply for Special Handling, Labor Certification, National Interest Waivers (NIW), Alien of Extraordinary Ability Petitions (EB-1(a)), or Outstanding Researcher Petitions (EB-1(b))?
A: Since each individual case is different, it is wise to ask an experienced attorney which application would be the best for your particular situation. If you have any questions or would like a free evaluation of your situation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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