If a foreign national’s services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States and are in the national interest of the United States, the employer may petition for the foreign national in the second employment based preference category without having to first obtain a labor certification.
The petitioner must prove that the benefit his unique skills would provide substantially outweighs the inherent national interest in protecting U.S. workers through the labor certification process. In 1998, apparently due to a large number of national interest wavier approvals, the USCIS instituted a new standard and curtailed the number of national interest waiver case approvals.
Before the PERM labor certification process, labor certification in some states could take up to five years and the national interest waiver process provided a substantial savings in time. Presently, with the PERM process, labor certification takes an average of 3-5 months and the national interest waiver is generally not a preferred procedure.