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Can I Help My Nanny Get a Green Card?

Updated: May 17

Securing exceptional childcare is paramount for many families, and a trustworthy nanny can be an invaluable asset. If you envision your nanny becoming a permanent fixture in your household and wish for them to legally live and work in the US, sponsoring them for a green card is a viable option. However, navigating this path requires careful planning and a thorough understanding of the complexities involved.

The PERM Process: Demonstrating Good Faith Recruitment

The process begins with labor certification, also known as PERM. This process establishes with the Department of Labor (DOL) that you made a good-faith effort to recruit a qualified US citizen or permanent resident for the nanny position. This involves:

  • Strategic Job Advertisements: Targeted advertisements must be placed in three specific locations mandated by the DOL.

  • Meticulous Documentation: Detailed records of the recruitment process, including copies of advertisements, applicant resumes, and interview notes, must be maintained. This documentation serves as evidence that you genuinely sought a qualified US candidate.

  • Accurate PERM Application (ETA Form 9089): Following the recruitment period, a complete and accurate PERM application needs to be submitted to the DOL. Approval signifies that no qualified US workers were available for the nanny position.

The Green Card Backlog: Understanding the Wait Times

Even with PERM approval, the journey isn't over. The US government sets annual quotas on green cards awarded to immigrants. Nannies fall under the EB-3 (employment-based, third preference) category, further classified as "unskilled workers" due to the typically minimal training requirements. 

Demand for EB-3 unskilled worker green cards often exceeds supply, leading to a lengthy waitlist. Your nanny's place in line is determined by the PERM application filing date, known as their "priority date."  The Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin listing the priority dates for which they can begin accepting applications and issuing visas.

Navigating Immigration Status: The Importance of Legal Expertise

The process becomes even more intricate if your nanny is already in the US:

  • Legal Status: If your nanny possesses a valid visa status and their priority date is current, they can apply for permanent residency through "adjustment of status" (Form I-485).

  • Unlawful Presence: If your nanny is undocumented, obtaining a green card through your sponsorship becomes extremely difficult. Leaving the US to attend a visa interview at a US consulate abroad triggers a re-entry bar:

  • 180 days to less than a year of unlawful presence: 3-year bar

  • One year or more of unlawful presence: 10-year bar

Exceptions do exist, but due to the complexities of unlawful presence situations, consulting an immigration attorney is very crucial.  They can explore potential solutions and advise on the best course of action to minimize risks and maximize chances of success.

The Priority Date Backlog and Strategic Solutions

Even with a current priority date, another hurdle may emerge. To receive the green card, your nanny must demonstrate an intention to continue working for your family. However, by the time the priority date becomes current, your children may be older and not require full-time childcare.

There are strategies to address this challenge:

  • Demonstrating Ongoing Needs: Documentation can be prepared to showcase any evolving childcare needs within your family, such as occasional assistance for older children or support for aging parents living with you.

  • Exploring Alternative Employment Options: In some cases, the possibility of your nanny finding additional employment within your household can be explored, ensuring they maintain their role as part of the family.

The Value of Legal Guidance

Immigration laws are complex. Consulting an experienced immigration attorney from Tran Flores Law can provide invaluable support throughout the green card sponsorship process.  We can:

  • Analyze your specific situation and identify potential roadblocks.

  • Recommend the most suitable visa option.

  • Ensure all necessary paperwork is complete, accurate, and filed correctly.

  • Track the application's progress and keep you informed of any updates.

  • Advocate for your best interests throughout the process.

By partnering with us, you can navigate the complexities of sponsoring your nanny for a green card with greater confidence and efficiency, ensuring a smoother path for your trusted childcare provider to become a permanent member of your family.


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