Google Pauses New Green Card PERM Applications

After a giant lay off announcement in January 2023 of 12,000 employees, Google has sent out an email to foreign employees at the company working in the U.S. reporting that they would be pausing applications for permanent labor certification, which is the first step for getting an employment-based green card.

It appears that Google is just another large tech firm that has paused their PERM filing for green card applications among a widespread lay off and reduction of workforce issue. Google noted in their email that the decision to pause PERM applications is solely due to hiring and staffing reductions, and how these affect the PERM application process.

Why is Google Pausing PERM Applications?

A major layoff can cause issues with PERM applications. This is because it requires the employer to notify all workers who were fired in the past six months to see if they are minimally qualified for the position for which the employer is hiring the foreign national for. It gives preference to those who were laid off above foreign workers.

This means that with their recent huge layoff, there would be a ton of paperwork and notification that would have to take place in order for PERM applications to be approved. They likely need time to determine which positions will be the right fit for labor certification. More and more PERM applications are being audited or denied due to these massive layoffs.

Who Does This Change Affect?

This change will affect those foreign workers whose temporary work visas are soon expiring and will be seeking permanent residence in the U.S. An H-1B visa is only good for up to 6 years, and then it can be extended for another year if the company submits a PERM application for the worker to begin their employment-based green card process. Otherwise, they have to leave the country or apply for a different visa once their H-1B status expires.

Google did report that they will continue to support PERM applications that were previously submitted and will not affect current or future applications for other visas.

What to Do if You’re an Affected H-1B Holder

Receiving this news as a foreign Google employee isn’t easy, especially if you are already years into your H-1B visa status. Here are some options to consider:

  • If you still have some time left on your H-1B visa status, you can wait it out until Google resumes filing PERM applications. 
  • If your H-1B status expires soon, you may want to consider applying for a different lawful immigration status or filing for adjustment of status.
  • Only time that you spent physically in the U.S. counts towards your H-1B time, so consider any vacations or times you travel abroad for work during your H-1B status. Your employer can apply for a new calculator of your H-1B visa status if so.
  • You may consider applying for a green card under a different preference or category, such as family-based.

If you are affected by this change, the best course of action is to contact an immigration lawyer to understand your options and to act quickly. Staying in the U.S. unlawfully can cause issues with getting a green card or new visas in the future.