Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 140,000 foreign labor certifications are available to employers looking to hire a foreign worker in the United States permanently. Labor Certifications are submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL) and upon acceptance, allow the employer to submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Labor Certification submitted to the USCIS must certify that there are no available domestic workers that are able, willing, qualified and available to fill the position assigned to the foreign worker. The Labor Certification must also assert that employment of the foreign worker will not negatively affect the job opportunities, wages or working conditions of American workers.
Labor Certification Processing Time
A step by step process for obtaining a complete labor certification is as follows:
- The employer must prepare the job description and minimum requirements, outline recruitment steps, and submit the job posting.
- The employer must then request a Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor. The official website for prevailing wage requests can be found here.
- The employer will now typically begin recruitment and has between 60 to 180 days available to file the Labor Certification. However, the employer must cease all job postings for 30 days prior to filing the labor certification.
- After waiting the required 30 days, the employer can now file the Labor Certification.
- At this point, the Department of Labor processes the Labor Certification and can take anywhere from a couple of weeks, to a couple of months to submit a response.
The total time to process a foreign labor certification can take anywhere from 6-9 months depending on the actions and timeliness of the employer.