Understanding the Role of Labor Certification in Employment Based Green Card Applications

Calendar Icon Updated January 15, 2019
Green Cards

Obtaining a Green Card through an employment based visa is one of the more common ways in which lawful permanent status is granted.

While many of the same processes and regulations apply as with obtaining a Green Card through other means, the major difference with employment based Green Cards is that a Labor Certification must take place at the outset of the application.

Labor Certifications are issued by the Department of Labor. They allow an employer to file an employment based application on behalf of the petitioner, proving that they were unable to find a candidate for the job for which the petitioner is applying. Due to the unsuccessful job search, it is their intent to hire the petitioner for the position because they have the required skills and experience for the position.

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The steps for Labor Certification are thorough and take some time to complete. Those steps include:

Filing an application. The employer must file a Labor Certification Petition Form through the Program Electronic Review System (PERM) with either a State Employment Security Agency or a State Workforce Agency. The exact agency will vary by state. The application will contain details of the job, what education, training and experience is required and what the proposed immigrant’s qualification are.

Reviewing the application. The agency will review the application and may or may not request modifications depending on if the review deems the qualifications, experience, wage structure and other items to be reasonable.

Recruiting. The employer must undertake a recruitment for the position that includes advertising in local newspapers or online. All applicants that meet the standards put forth by the ad must be interviewed.

Submitting the results. The employer must submit results of the recruiting process to the governing agency. The report will include proof of the advertising efforts and provide details for why all applicants were rejected. The Department of Labor will monitor this portion in great detail, especially during times when unemployment is high.

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Making a decision. If the Department of Labor is in agreement that no U.S. workers fit the position as advertised after the recruitment process, then the Labor Certification will be approved. 

Submitting the Labor Certification. Employers have 180 days from the date the Labor Certification is issued to submit it to the USCIS. Although the Labor Certification by itself does not grant an alien the right to work in the United States, it does give the employer the right to move forward with the Green Card process. Also, once a Labor Certificate has been granted, it has no expiration date as long as the job it applies to is still available.

 

Eligibility Team

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