26 Jun

Importing Gas Station Workers

Texas is the second biggest state in the nation who permanently employs foreign workers.
Reports show that Texas chronically suffers from deficiency of qualified workforce, leading with computer and math related occupations.
In Houston alone, (as of June 2014), there are 150 applications in process, awaiting DOL approval to proceed with “importing” foreign workers to Houston, TX: Computer Systems Analysts(24), Computer Programmers(17), Mechanical Engineers(15), Software Developers(12), Computer Occupations(7), Database Administrator(6), Financial Analysts(5), Petroleum Engineers(5), Chemists(4), Operations Research(4), etc.

For those who are not familiar with the PERM process, here is a brief overview:

Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used for obtaining labor certification and is the first step for certain foreign nationals in obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa (“green card”). This is also known as PERM labor certification.
Before a U.S. employer can file an immigration petition for a foreign worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must first obtain an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).

The DOL must certify to the USCIS both that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job offered the alien at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment, and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Prior to filing the permanent labor certification application, the employer must conduct recruitment of U.S. workers for the job being offered.
The following mandatory recruitment activities are required for all applications involving professional and non-professional occupations which are not filed for Schedule A positions or Special Handling:
Job Order – The employer must place a job order with the local SWA for a period of 30 days. Advertisements in Newspaper or Professional Journals – The employer must place an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation on two different Sundays. In-House Posting – The employer must post an internal job posting (also called a notice of filing) with all DOL required information for a period of 10 consecutive business days. As additional advertizing employer may utilize Job fairs, Employer’s web site, Job search web site other than employer’s, On-campus recruiting (usually for positions requiring no experience, Trade or professional organizations, Private employment firms, An employee referral program, if it includes identifiable incentives, A notice of the job opening at a campus placement office, if the job requires a degree but no experience, Local and ethnic newspapers, to the extent they are appropriate for the job opportunity, Radio and television advertisements.
Advertisements must not contain additional job requirements not normally required for the position (unless there is a demonstrated business need) and cannot contain wages or terms of employment that are less favorable than those being offered to the alien beneficiary.
Once the job has been advertised, the employer must interview U.S. applicants that have met the minimum requirements for the position. If the employer rejects U.S. workers that meet the minimum qualifications, employer must document why in its recruitment report. The employer must have a lawful, job-related reason for rejecting a minimally qualified U.S. worker, and include that reason in the recruitment report.

Obviously, this is a very long, complicated and costly process. Bottom line, employers have to prove to DOL that they have done everything in their power to reach qualified American workers, but were not able to find a qualified candidate.

DOL reports show that it is apparent that we are lacking American IT brains, and India has a surplus. So you ask yourself: shouldn’t we get in an accelerated mode and train US candidates, so the void could be filled internally?
My answer is YES. However, that is a subject for another discussion.

What is mind boggling  is that so many employer claim that they can not find qualified US workers in occupations where there should be plenty of supply. Please take a look at the following examples:

ABIR BUSINESS INC. DBA STOP N ZIP FOOD MART – |HOUSTON, TEXAS, 77015 | Stated they could not find a gas station attendant in the US, even though the annual salary offered was $ 49,587. Their application was certified, and the worker is from India.

STAR PROTECTION AGENCY LLC – | HOUSTON, TEXAS, 77024 | Stated they could not find a security guard in the US. They planned to hire a worker from Nepal. However, the application was denied.

DRAGER’S INDUSTRIES, INC. (not to be confused with Dräger or Draeger), – | PEARLAND, TEXAS, 77581 | Stated they could not find a welder in the US. The pay offered was $19.50/hr., and they planned to hire a worker from Mexico. The application was denied.