What is Labor Certification?
November 20, 2019
Each year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorizes 140,000 immigrant visas for aliens, along with their spouses and children, who want to immigrate to the U.S. These aliens must have the correct combination of education, job skills, or prior work experience to attain permanent residence status in the U.S.
Based on certain USCIS immigrant visa preferences, the applicant must have a job offer from an U.S. employer for consideration. That means the employer must receive labor certification approval from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) before USCIS immigration petition submission.
Labor Certification Considerations
When the Secretary of Labor issues these certifications, the document contains attestations by U.S. employers regarding the number of U.S. workers who are available to perform the type of employment the applicant seeks. It will also state the effect of foreign employment on wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
When determining the available labor numbers in the U.S., that decision is made when the visa application is submitted, and depends on the location of the job where the applicant wants to work. By law, employers must advertise the position. They must review resumes for at least 30 days before submitting the application to make sure qualified U.S. workers are unavailable. Such advertising must include a Sunday newspaper, although an exception is made if the area has no Sunday newspapers. When the application is submitted, the employer must include copies of all advertisements for the position, as well as relevant resumes and notes written when reviewing these documents. The employer must offer the prevailing wage for the position in their region.
Program Electronic Review Management (PERM), the labor certification process, consists of two phases; recruitment and prevailing wage determination. Labor certification is a time-consuming process. Along with the amount of time the employer must spend advertising for the position and reviewing resumes, which takes at least two months, expect up to six months for the filing of the PERM application. Once the DOL has the application on file, it may take several months for the department to come to a decision. It can take even longer if the DOL decides to audit the application.
In such cases, the employer must respond within 30 days. However, the application then goes back into processing mode, and the current backlog will determine how long it will take the DOL to address it. It is not unusual for this stage to take over a year. Much also depends on the country of origin. For some foreign nationals, including those from China or Vietnam, the backlog may last up to a decade. Once the PERM application is certified, Form I-140 Employer’s Application for Immigrant Visa and Proof of Ability to Pay, and the approval of Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status are needed to complete the employment-based permanent residence process.
Vineland Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Help Clients Seeking Labor Certification
If you are having issues with labor certification, contact an experienced Vineland immigration lawyer at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC We understand the complexities that certifications require and can help you with any concerns. Call us at 215-496-0690 or complete an online form for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.