On an individual basis, the firm will sponsor employees from a foreign nation. The sponsorship itself is a multi-step process. Typically the sponsorship program begins with either Curricular Practical Training ( CPT ) or Optional Practical Training ( OPT ) for internships or co-ops.
After satisfactory completion of the OPT/CPT , and at the discretion of management, full-time employment may be offered. If the offer is accepted then the application and sponsorship for the H-1B Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker may begin. Once the H-1B is received by the employee and management’s approval the permanent resident application process may begin.
Labor Certification Application (LCA) is the first of three steps in the permanent resident process. As of March 2005, there is only one option for these applications - the PERM system. Once the recruitment is conducted, the PERM application is an attestation and audit process. The employer and employee complete the PERM application Form ETA 9089.
Once the LCA is received the I-140 Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker can be filed on behalf of the employee.The approval of this petition gives the employee the right to file their personal application for permanent resident status.
Currently the entire process can take as little as two years or more than ten years. Selection of an attorney as well as legal and filing fees are typically paid by the responsible party.