Deadline for Speeding up the Green Card Process Approaches, Window Closes January 20, 2007


A window is open for employers who filed the first phase of the green card process for foreign employees to convert to a speedier process. The window closes January 20, 2007.

This conversion opportunity applies where an employer filed a Labor Certification Application with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to show there were no U.S. workers for a permanent job the employer wants a foreign worker to fill. It applies to cases filed before March 26, 2005.

Before then, employers could file cases without advertising or recruitment under a process called “Traditional Recruitment” (“TR”), passively waiting for the DOL to send recruitment instructions. Most TR cases are sitting on the shelf accumulating dust in a DOL Backlog Elimination Center in Dallas or Philadelphia. As an alternative, employers could exert more control to complete recruitment and file under a process called “Reduction in Recruitment”

(“RIR”). Many RIR cases also are sitting at the Backlog Centers, but the DOL has blown the dust off, started processing and already certified many RIR cases.

Up to January 20, 2007, employers can notify the DOL by e-mail of the intent to convert a case from TR to RIR for potentially faster processing, using specified language. After the deadline, employers still can convert to RIR and commence recruitment. But the DOL might send conflicting recruitment instructions in the meantime that render the case ineligible for conversion to RIR, keeping the case on the slow track and delaying advancement through the next phases of the green card process.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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