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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Q: My labor certification (LC) was filed with the Employment Development Department (EDD) in May 2002. It was transferred to Department of Labor (DOL) in April 2003. How can I find out what LC dates the DOL is currently processing?

A: DOL is undergoing tremendous changes. The majority of permanent LC cases from the Regional Offices and the State Workforce Agencies are being transferred to two DOL Backlog Processing Centers in Philadelphia and Texas. These centers are issuing a “45-day letter” to the employer (and attorneys) asking if it wishes to continue with the processing of the LC application. The employer is given 45 days from the date of the letter to respond. If the employer fails to respond, the application will be closed. Due to this ongoing reorganization, DOL is not yet releasing any case- processing time reports. DOL reports that its Backlog Centers are processing all pending LCs on a “first-in-first-out” basis.

Q: Can the new PERM process further delay previously filed labor certification (LC) applications?

A: Separate and independent DOL offices are handling PERM filings. Thus, the new PERM process should not have any effect on the previously filed LC applications.

Q: My brother is a graduate from a nursing school in India and currently works at a hospital in Chennai. Can he apply for a green card as a registered nurse? How?

A: Your brother will first need to find a U.S. sponsor (employer) willing to file for his employment-based status as a registered nurse. Then he will need to take and pass his CGFNS or NCLEX exam and apply for a Visa Screen certificate. Currently, visas for Indian nationals applying in this category are backlogged for approximately three years.

Q: I have a high-school diploma and I am going to community college now. I am on F-1 status and would like to apply for Canadian immigration. Do you think I have a good case?

A: If you want to apply for permanent residency in Canada based on the skilled worker program you need to acquire a certain number of points, many of which are based on your education, English language proficiency, and professional work experience. Such factors as age, marital status, secured offer of employment, and Canadian relatives can also add points to your score. Generally, to qualify for Canadian immigration you need to have at least a two-year college diploma or bachelor’s degree and a couple of years of professional work experience.

Q: I have 13 years of work experience as a financial analyst. I am considering applying for Canadian permanent residency. Do I need to hire an attorney for this? How long does it take?

A: It is always a good idea to hire an attorney who specializes in Canadian immigration. It appears as though you can qualify for the skilled worker program and have a good chance of having your application approved provided that it is properly prepared for filing. For applications filed in the United States the average processing time is 14 months.

James E. Root, Esq., manages an exclusive immigration law practice with two offices in L.A. and Orange counties. (888) ROOT-LAW.