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Understanding the labor certification requirement

There are many types of work visas that one can apply for when trying to come to the United States for a job. Different factors—such as your area of employment, job ranking and any outstanding achievements in your field—affect the type of visa you may be eligible for.

For some visas, there is what’s known as a “labor certification” requirement. In this post, we examine this requirement and the process of attaining such certification.

What is labor certification?

If a U.S.-based employer wants to hire a foreign worker for a certain position, the employer may be required to obtain labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) as part of the visa sponsorship process. The employer must demonstrate that the foreign worker would be filling a position that no available, qualified American workers in that geographic area could fill. In addition, the employer must prove that hiring the foreign worker would not adversely impact American workers’ job opportunities, income and working conditions.

How does the process work?

First, the employer must make a Prevailing Wage Request (PWR) to the DOL—providing information such as the job duties and geographic location of the proposed employment. The DOL will then inform the employer of the standard wages associated with that job in that area.

Once the employer receives the PWR, they must conduct a local recruitment campaign for the foreign worker’s proposed position. The employer is required to publish the job announcement:

  • With the workforce agency in the state of proposed employment
  • In a newspaper that circulates in the geographic area of proposed employment—appearing in at least two different Sunday publications
  • In at least three other advertising outlets

The job must be advertised for at least 30 consecutive days. The employer must review all incoming resumes for the position. If there are any candidates that appear qualified on paper, the employer must interview them. The employer must carefully record the resumes collected, the candidates interviewed as well as any reasons for rejecting each candidate.

If the employer completes the above process and finds no other suitable candidate for the position, they must still wait 30 more days before proceeding with the labor certification application. After this time has passed, they can submit form 9089 to the DOL.

The labor certification process can be long and difficult. If you’re considering moving to the U.S. for work, it’s worthwhile to speak with an experienced immigration attorney to learn whether you qualify for a visa that does not have this requirement.

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Trevino Immigration Law, 206 E. Locust Street, San Antonio, TX 78212