In the standard labor certification process, the
employer files an application with the state employment office, the
state agency oversees the advertisement and recruitment process, and
then the application is sent to the Regional Department of Labor office
These are the basic steps in this process:
The employer prepares a labor certification application,
usually with the assistance of an immigration lawyer. The
application describes in detail the job duties, educational
requirements, training, experience, and other special capabilities the
applicant must possess to do the work, along with a statement of the
prospective immigrant's qualifications.
- The employer submits the application to the state
workforce agency where the job is located. The state workforce
agency date-stamps the application when it is received, and this date
becomes the foreign worker's "priority date." The state workforce agency
then completes a preliminary review of the application. The state
workforce agency also notifies the employer of potential problems, such
as minimum requirements for the position that are not reasonable or
sufficiently job-related. The state workforce agency also
determines whether the wage offered meets minimum prevailing wage
- The state workforce agency then works with the employer
to develop a job advertisement for placement in either a journal or
newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment
(depending on the nature of the job). The ad must contain a
complete description of the vacancy, including job responsibilities,
duties, salary, and minimum qualifications (education, training,
and experience). The employer must interview all candidates who
apply and appear to meet the position requirements.
- The employer evaluates job candidates against the
job criteria. (The job criteria have already been established on the labor certification
application itself.) The employer then submits a recruitment report to
the state workforce agency after all of the applications have been
received and potentially qualified applicants have been interviewed.
The recruitment report is a summarization of the applications received
and the candidates interviewed, including any decisions made to hire or
not to hire the candidates.
- If any qualified U.S. workers are identified, the state
workforce agency will inform the employer that the application will
likely be denied by the Certifying Officer in the regional office of the
US Department of Labor.
- Information gathered by the state workforce agency will
be forwarded to the regional office of the US Department of Labor for
review and a decision. Generally, the state workforce agency will notify
the employer when the application and all associated documents have been
forwarded to the Certifying Officer of the regional office of the US
Department of Labor.
- Once the Certifying Officer has reviewed the recruitment
report and accompanying documentation, the Certifying Officer will issue
a final determination granting or denying the application. The DOL
may require additional information, interviews, or advertisement if it
feels the employer has not met all conditions for certification.
The DOL may also issue a Notice of Findings, which is a document that indicates the
Officer's intent to deny the application and identifying the reasons for
the intended denial. If the labor certification is denied, the employer
can appeal, but the waiting time for appeals to be adjudicated is quite
For comparison, you can review the procedures for
Certification Applications and the PERM program process.