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Do you need a permanent labor certification?

You may have literally searched the world over for a person qualified enough to perform the tasks your business requires. When you found someone, it was not a U.S. citizen. The individual that you chose agreed to move to the United States permanently in order to work for your company. Now, you need to determine how to bring this person into the country legally.

You will be required to file an immigration petition on behalf of the individual, but you must take another step before you can file the petition. You will need to obtain a permanent labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why do I need a permanent labor certification?

Before an individual from another country can take a permanent work position here in the United States, the federal government wants to be sure that an American cannot perform the duties of the position just as well, if not better. The second part of this document certifies that employing the foreign worker will not adversely affect the working conditions or wages of Americans in similar positions.

In order to apply for a permanent labor certification, the following criteria must be met:

  • The position must be open to U.S. citizens.
  • The requirements of the job cannot be tailored to the qualifications of the foreign worker.
  • The requirements of the job cannot be unduly restrictive without a valid business purpose.
  • The wages for the position must be at least those prevailing for its type.

If the position and your choice of a foreign worker satisfy these criteria, then you may begin the application process.

What does the application process entail?

Prior to filing the application, your company will need to conduct documented recruiting efforts to prove the inability to find an American who can fill the position. The application must include all of the pertinent information regarding the position, along with the wage requirements. If you mail the application, you will need to make sure that the potential employee, you and a preparer, if any, all sign it. If you file it online, the application requires the appropriate signatures when you receive the certification.

You don't need to provide any supporting documentation with the application, but it must be available upon request. Keeping good records is essential in this regard. You will also be required to keep the documentation for at least five years.

Upon approval, the certification is sent to you or your preparer. Once received, you must then file the immigration application within 180 days of the certification date.

As with any immigration law requirements, the hiring of a foreign worker can become complex and frustrating. Obtaining a permanent labor certification is only one part of the process. It may be beneficial for you to involve a New York immigration attorney in order to ensure you take the appropriate steps and that the process goes as smoothly as possible from start to finish.

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