Labor Certification in the USA: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Labor Certification

In the realm of immigration law in the United States, labor certification holds significant importance. It is a crucial step for employers seeking to hire foreign nationals on a permanent basis. Labor certification, also known as PERM (Program Electronic Review Management), is a process through which an employer proves that there are no qualified American workers available for the position they intend to fill, thereby justifying the need to hire a foreign worker.

What is Labor Certification?

Labor certification is a document issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) certifying that there are insufficient qualified American workers available to fill a certain job position and that hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.

Importance of Labor Certification

Labor certification is a prerequisite for many employment-based green card applications in the United States. It serves as evidence that the hiring of a foreign worker will not displace or negatively impact American workers.

The Process of Labor Certification

The process of obtaining labor certification involves several steps, each with its own requirements and procedures.

Step 1: Employer Recruitment

Before filing for labor certification, the employer must conduct recruitment efforts to test the U.S. labor market. This typically involves advertising the job opportunity through various channels to attract potential American applicants.

Step 2: Filing the PERM Application

Once the recruitment process is complete, the employer can file the PERM application with the DOL. The application includes detailed information about the job position, its requirements, and the recruitment efforts undertaken to find qualified American workers.

See also  What is the I-983 Form and where can I download it?

Step 3: DOL Review

Upon receiving the PERM application, the DOL reviews it to ensure compliance with all regulations and requirements. This may involve auditing the recruitment process and verifying the information provided by the employer.

Step 4: Certification or Denial

After reviewing the application, the DOL will either certify it, granting permission to proceed with the green card application, or deny it if there are any discrepancies or issues with the application.

Eligibility Criteria for Labor Certification

To be eligible for labor certification, certain criteria must be met by both the employer and the foreign worker.

Employer Requirements

  • The employer must demonstrate that they have the financial ability to pay the prevailing wage for the job position.
  • They must comply with all recruitment and advertising requirements set forth by the DOL.
  • The job opportunity must meet the prevailing wage requirements for the specific occupation and geographic location.

Foreign Worker Requirements

  • The foreign worker must possess the necessary qualifications, education, and experience required for the job position.
  • They must meet any licensure or certification requirements applicable to the job.


Labor certification is a vital step in the process of hiring foreign workers for permanent employment in the United States. By demonstrating that there are no qualified American workers available for the job, employers can obtain certification from the Department of Labor, paving the way for the foreign worker to apply for a green card.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. How long does the labor certification process take?
    • The processing time for labor certification can vary depending on various factors, but it typically takes several months to a year or more.
  2. Can labor certification be appealed if denied?
    • Yes, if a labor certification application is denied, the employer has the option to appeal the decision through the appropriate channels.
  3. Are there any exceptions to the labor certification requirement?
    • Yes, certain categories of employment-based green card applications are exempt from the labor certification requirement, such as those for individuals with extraordinary abilities or those in the national interest.
  4. What happens after labor certification is approved?
    • Once labor certification is approved, the employer can proceed with filing an immigrant petition on behalf of the foreign worker, followed by an application for adjustment of status or consular processing.
  5. Can labor certification be transferred to a different employer?
    • No, labor certification is specific to the employer and the job position for which it was filed. If the foreign worker changes employers, a new labor certification application must be filed.
See also  Does bankruptcy clear property tax debt?