Labor certification is the first step that foreign nationals must take if they are seeking an employment-based green card. For both applicants and employers, the process is complicated and lengthy, depending on a variety of factors.
Before hiring an employee from another country, employers must first verify that recruiting efforts to find a U.S. citizen for the position were unsuccessful. The Department of Labor (DOL) will conduct a thorough analysis of those attempts to ensure that hiring U.S. citizens was their initial priority, even if no U.S. citizen workers were ultimately found for the position.
The employer develops a job description that contains detailed and accurate information on the job responsibilities and minimum requirements. Also, they must provide the DOL a thorough report of their recruiting efforts.
Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD)
Employers request a PWD from the Department of Labor to determine the proper wage should the foreign worker accept the job. If disputes with the DOL arise, the employer can request a reassessment of the decision or changes to the job description. Should that occur, another PWD request must be filed. However, recruitment efforts may continue while the company awaits a ruling.
Employers have between 30 and 180 days to file a Labor Certification following a “cooling off” period where the employer stops all avenues they would typically use to recruit staff. The rescruitment process must be done through several methods, including print publications, job fairs, websites, or radio. The job must also be posted internally by the company in a conspicuous location for 10 days.
Once the DOL approves labor certification clearance, the company petitions for an employment-based Green Card. The DOL certifies to USCIS through this process that there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers willing, able, and available to accept the job, and that employing the foreign worker won’t adversely impact similarly situated U.S. employee wages. The labor certification must be submitted to USCIS with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, within 180 days of DOL’s certification. The newly hired foreign worker must be brought on as a permanent and full-time employee with wages that reflect other staff members similarly situated in the company.
Opportunities abound for foreign workers willing to go through the necessary steps on this immigration pathways. With the help of an experienced attorney, like the attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP, this complicated process can be navigated with ease.