Copyright 2002, Boyd F. Campbell, All Rights Reserved
Labor certification for skilled workers, professionals
By BOYD F. CAMPBELL
Attorney at Law and Civil Law Notary
labor certification of a permanent job with a U.S. employer is the first
vital step toward getting an employment-based immigrant visa ("green card")
for most foreign nationals who want to immigrate to the United States.
Getting labor certification is, without question, difficult, complicated, expensive, and very time-consuming. The process, which can take from 18 months to three years in some parts of the country, was devised by the U.S. Department of Labor to protect the U.S. job market from the very foreign nationals and U.S. employers who try to get labor certification.
The entire process, from the initial prevailing wage determination by the local employment service to final adjustment of status in the United States or consular processing overseas, is much too complicated to describe in a one-page article. But I have condensed the steps into what I hope you will agree is English (not legal or bureaucratic language) that is relatively easy to understand.
Your immigration lawyer must complete the following steps successfully if you are to get labor certification, the first phase of your application for a permanent job and a "green card." NOTE: The foreign national who wants a visa is called the "Beneficiary." Prospective U.S. employer is called the "Petitioner."
Perform thorough research of the position offered by the employer, and
prepare a job description and offer of employment for the employer to present
to the beneficiary and to be included with the application, including salary,
education, and training requirements.
2. Help the employer file the Application for Alien Employment Certification with required attachments and documentation, including a detailed job description, and assist the foreign national beneficiary in preparing his or her portion of the application.
3. File a statement of the foreign national beneficiary's qualifications, signed by him, and prepare an advertisement for the position being offered (unless waived), and submit it to the local employment office.
4. Obtain notification from the labor certification specialist of the date to begin the recruitment period, and assist the employer with job notice postings.
5. Prepare a statement of recruitment efforts and explanations for rejection of U.S. workers for lawful, job-related reasons. (Prepare results of responses to advertising during the recruitment period.)
6. Obtain approval of labor certification application and referral for review to the regional Department of Labor office (for example, Alabama is in Region IV, whose regional office is in Atlanta).
7. Obtain approval from regional certifying officer of Department of Labor of employer's and beneficiary's application for labor certification. (At this point, the labor certification process is finished.)
8. The employer applies to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for an employment-based immigrant visa on behalf of beneficiary. The beneficiary applies for adjustment of status in the United States or consular processing overseas (whichever is applicable). The immigration lawyer helps the beneficiary with consular processing (if he is overseas), or assists him with a personal interview (if required) at an INS district office in the United States.
As noted above, the labor certification process is very time-consuming. If you believe your academic background or status in a particular profession might qualify you for a "national interest waiver" of the labor certification requirement, you should discuss this with your immigration lawyer. It will save many months in your quest for a U.S. immigrant visa.
WARNING: Your family members, friends, and fellow employees are good sources of bad information about U.S. immigration and nationality law and federal regulatory procedures. If you, or your employer, are interested in applying for a U.S. immigrant visa, you should seek out and hire a qualified immigration lawyer. If you do not wish to consult the Immigration Law Center, please call the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Washington, D.C., at (202) 216-2400.
Boyd F. Campbell is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Alabama State Bar (ASB). He served as Chair of the Immigration Law Committee of the ABA's General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Lawyers Section, and was a member of the ABA's Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law from 1994 to 1998. He is also a memer of the ABA's International Law Section. Mr. Campbell served as Chair of the International Law Section of the Alabama State Bar from 2000 to 2002. He has practiced international, immigration, and federal employment law in Montgomery, Alabama, since 1988. Mr. Campbell is listed in The Best Lawyers in America Consumer Guide, published by Woodward/White, Inc. Access to this database of lawyers is available on the World Wide Web by subscription: www.bestlawyers.com. In August, 2001, Mr. Campell was appointed Alabama's first practicing civil law notary by the Alabama Secretary of State.
Questions or comments
about this article may be directed to:
Immigration Law Center, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 11032
Montgomery, Alabama 36111-0032
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