U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) pre-certification – Schedule A
The DOL recognizes that there are shortages of US workers in certain occupations and that it would be inefficient to require employers to undertake the standard PERM recruitment process for certain occupations. As a result, the DOL has a designated pre-certified list that establishes that workers in certain job classifications will not adversely affect US workers. This is called “Schedule A Occupations”. Importantly, Schedule A petitions must be filed by a US employer.
Schedule A Occupations is divided into two groups:
Schedule A, Group 1, for professional nurses and physical therapists.
- Physical therapist – must possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination in the state in which they propose to practice physical therapy; and
- Professional Nurses – the individual (i) has a Commission on Graduates Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certificate, (ii) he/she has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX—RN) exam, or (iii) the he/she holds a full and unrestricted (permanent) license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment.
These types of cases are very specific because the licensing requirements vary state by state. Definitely consult with an attorney if you are a physical therapist or professional nurse who is planning on filing a petition pursuant to Schedule A Occupations.
Schedule A, Group II, for persons of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts and university teachers:
- Scientists or Artists (except performing arts) – individuals of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts (except the performing arts) including college and university teachers of exceptional ability who have been practicing their science or art during the year prior to application and who intend to practice the same science or art in the United States. For purposes of this group, the term “science or art” means any field of knowledge and/or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge and/or skill. An individual, however, need not have studied at a college or university in order to qualify; and
- Performing Artists – individuals of exceptional ability in the performing arts whose work during the past 12 months did require, and whose intended work in the United States will require, exceptional ability.
This is not to confuse with the EB-1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability, immigrant category because there are major differences between the two. For example, EB-1A does not require employer sponsorship and a permanent job offer. In contrast, Schedule A requires permanent employment from a U.S. employer.
Obviously, not many individuals can meet these requirements. However, an experienced immigration attorney can provide guidance on what type of evidence is required to meet these qualifications.