Most employment-based green card applications require a PERM Labor Certification, which is where the U.S. Department of Labor must certify that there are no sufficient U.S. workers available for the position who are able, willing, and qualified and that the hiring of non-U.S. workers will not negatively affect U.S. wages. The Department of Labor has a list of “Schedule A” occupations, in which the Department of Labor (DOL) has already determined that there are not enough American workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to fill all of the openings and that employment of aliens in such occupations will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. Therefore, applicants may skip the PERM Labor Certification part of the process entirely, and may proceed directly to the next step in the process, filing the I-140 Alien Worker Petition with USCIS. While this does not necessarily mean that all cases are approvable or will be handled quickly, this allows these cases to skip the first and most time-consuming part of the employment-based green card process.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s “Schedule A” list of occupations was most recently amended in 2005, and it currently includes two groups:
Group I: Physical therapists and Professional Nurses. Note that this does not include Licensed Practical Nurses, Nurse Assistants, or other nursing aides.
Group II: Individuals of “exceptional ability” in the sciences and arts, including college and university teachers.