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Ability to Pay and Employment Based Sponsorship of a Foreign National

Ability to Pay and Employment Based Sponsorship of a Foreign National

Posted by: ScottMond Law Firm
October 23, 2011
Topic: Employment Visas

An I-140 is a petition by a U.S. Employer who seeks to sponsor and employ someone who is abroad or a foreign national. Small, large or new companies may sponsor a foreign national once they can demonstrate an ability to pay the employee. The sponsorship is for a future job since there are very stringent requirements that need to be met before a foreign employee may begin working.

The three essential steps are 1) PERM- Labor Certification; 2) I-140 - Petition for Foreign Worker; and 3) I-485- Application to Adjust status to a U.S. Permanent Resident. The purpose of this short blog article is to point out a common error in the I-140 stage regarding the "Ability to Pay" which can result in a denial of the Petition.

Before an application can be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), an extensive process called a Labor Certification -PERM must be completed. It is a complex, time sensitive semi-supervised recruitment process to ensure there are no U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents available and qualified for the position being offered to the beneficiary (foreign national). Once the Department of Labor ("DOL") is satisfied, they certify the PERM application -Labor Certification. This certified document must be included in any submission of an I-140 Petition to USCIS.

The date DOL certifies the PERM Labor Certification is considered the "priority date". This priority date will eventually appear on an I-140 Notice of Action (I-797) issued by USCIS, and is a critical date that governs many critical stages of the process including when a foreign national client becomes eligible to adjust status to a U.S. Permanent Resident.

It is also the critical date when the employer must demonstrate that he or she began having the ability to pay the prevailing wage (determined by the DOL) to the beneficiary. The formal definition of priority dates and ability to pay may be found at 8 CFR 204.5 (d)and(g)(2).

In essence, an employer must carefully plan with an immigration attorney when he or she should begin the process of sponsoring a foreign national, and ensure that the ability to pay will be met by the priority date. With careful planning and an understanding of different ways an employer can meet the ability to pay requirement, the I-140 petition and I-485 application for Permanent Resident status should be successful.

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