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PERM: Can an Employer Sponsor a Family Member’s Green Card?

Let’s say you run a business in the U.S., and you are interested in bringing your family member to the U.S. by sponsoring an employment-based green card for them. This certainly seems like a clever strategy, but it is very tricky. With that being said, it can be done, but not without extensive preparation.

Convincing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that an application is legitimate in these types of circumstances is a challenging pursuit. You will need to meet certain requirements to prove to the DOL that you are not just attempting to work around the limits of family-based green cards. Additionally, the DOL is surely aware that an employment-based green card may bring a foreign national to the U.S. much sooner than a family-based green card. Many people see this as an incentive to abuse the process. 

The PERM labor certification process requires any U.S. employer to first seek for employees within the U.S. labor market. They must conduct a good faith recruitment process to ensure that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position. The DOL will likely suspect that you did not sincerely go through this process if you are applying for an employment-based green card on behalf of a family member.

When preparing the PERM application, you will need to identify the sponsored foreign national as a family member. This is only necessary if they meet the DOL’s definition of a family member. However, this definition covers more than you may think. The DOL includes any relationship based on blood, marriage, or adoption in the definition of a family member. This means that a cousin of any degree, stepchild, stepparent, or in-law are considered family members. If you fail to accurately respond to this question, the DOL will deny the application.

The DOL will conduct a series of assessments to determine whether the application was made in good faith. First, there must be a legitimate job being offered. The employer may need to provide documents to establish that he or she is in need of an employee. Additionally, the sponsored foreign national must be appropriately qualified for the job. It is important that you show that you have objectively evaluated U.S. candidates prior to considering the foreign national. 

Please note that your PERM application will likely trigger an audit because of the familial relationship between you and the foreign worker. An audit is basically a request for additional documentation. This will place you under even more pressure to convince the officer that this is a genuine job offer that has been available to U.S. workers. 

If you have any questions or would like to sponsor a green card, please contact our office today! We would love to help in any way that we can.