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Question: I understand that PERM applications are greatly expediting the Labor Certification process. Could you let me know if I can bring my babysitter and domestic helper into the United States under the PERM program?

Answer: Yes, it is possible under PERM. It does require a significant amount of detailed documentation to be successfully file a PERM application for a domestic helper. Employers filing applications on behalf of live-in household domestic service workers must provide the following documentation:

First, a statement describing the household living accommodations which must include the following: (i) Whether the residence is a house or apartment; (ii) The number of rooms in the residence;(iii) The number of adults and children, and ages of the children residing in the household; and (iv) That free board and a private room not shared with any other person will be provided to the alien.

Next, thee should be two copies of the employment contract, each signed and dated prior to the filing of the application by both the employer and the alien (not by their attorneys or agents). The contract must clearly state: (i) The wages to be paid on an hourly and weekly basis; (ii) Total hours of employment per week, and exact hours of daily employment; (iii) That the alien is free to leave the employer’s premises during all non-work hours except the alien may work overtime if paid for the overtime at no less than the legally required hourly rate; (iv) That the alien will reside on the employer’s premises; (v) Complete details of the duties to be performed by the alien; (vi) The total amount of any money to be advanced by the employer with details of specific items, and the terms of repayment by the alien of any such advance by the employer; (vii) That in no event may the alien be required to give more than two weeks’ notice of intent to leave the employment contracted for and the employer must give the alien at least two weeks’ notice before terminating employment; (viii) That a duplicate contract has been furnished to the alien; (ix) That a private room and board will be provided at no cost to the worker; and (x) Any other agreement or conditions not specified on the Application for Permanent Employment Certification form.

Question: Does my domestic employee have to have past experience?

Answer: Yes. There should be documentation of the alien’s paid experience in the form of statements from past or present employers setting forth the dates (month and year) employment started and ended, hours of work per day, number of days worked per week, place where the alien worked, detailed statement of duties performed on the job, equipment and appliances used, and the amount of wages paid per week or month. The total paid experience must be equal to one full year’s employment on a full-time basis.

Question: Once the PERM would be certified and approved, can I then proceed to do the final processing for my domestic helper?

Answer: Unfortunately, the answer is no. Very recently, the visa priority charts from the Department of State made the ‘other worker’ category (which includes unskilled labor) backlogged for every country around the world. The typical wait looks like it will be around three years for the visa number to become current. Thus, you could not begin final processing until that time. However, to be able to file PERM application for a household worker is a great improvement over past practices. Thus, while it is not perfect, it is a great deal better than in the past.

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PERM: Can I bring in my babysitter?