Immigration Law: What is a Labor Certification?

When an employer is interested in hiring a non-citizen for a position within their organization, there is a process called labor certification that they can employ to justify their selection. When labor certification is successful, the non-citizen becomes eligible for obtaining a green card to become a permanent U.S., resident, which will also be sought by the employer on the immigrant’s behalf.

Labor certification is a detailed process whose goal is proving that the non-citizen is the best person for the job and that they have unsuccessfully searched the U.S. population for somebody equally qualified. Demonstrating this to the satisfaction of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires the following:

  • The position that the employer wants the foreign worker to fill must be full time rather than part-time
  • The position must be a permanent position rather than seasonal work or a temporary position
  • The requirements for fulfilling the job must be what is normal and customary for the specific occupation rather than tailored to the foreign worker. This is specifically to prove that the educational and occupational requirements are reflective of business necessity rather than unduly restrictive and designed to make it so that the named employee is the only person who could ever qualify
  • The compensation for the job being offered must be at least equivalent to the average that other organizations pay for similarly qualified workers or higher. This can be established through either salary surveys or analysis of Department of Labor wage statistics.

Employers who are successful in having their labor certification application approved (or “certified”) by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will then need to complete and submit an Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker on the potential employee’s behalf.

Labor certification is not the only process available to employers for hiring non-citizens. Others include applying using the requirements of the Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A); the Outstanding Professors or Researchers (EB-1B); the Multinational Executives or Managers (EB-1C); the National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories; and other options.

There are many reasons why an individual might seek permanent residency and a green card, and employment opportunities are among the most common. It is essential that the process is completed according to all requirements and criteria established through America’s immigration laws. For help in completing this process, contact our immigration attorneys today.