Labor Certification is usually the first step in a long process for a foreign worker to obtain legal permanent residency based on employment:

  • The employer gathers the information needed for the labor certification and submits it to the Department of Labor (DOL).
  • Through labor certification, the DOL reviews the information submitted and verifies that there are not sufficient U.S. workers available to fill the job.
  • The DOL will also ensure that a foreign worker’s employment will not negatively affect the wages or working conditions of similarly qualified U.S. workers.
  • Once an employer has an approved labor certification, the employer can file a petition for a green card with Immigration for a foreign worker who is qualified to fill the job.

Labor Certification does not give the foreign worker any status to remain in the United States. It does not give work authorization or permission to travel abroad. Fortunately, some jobs do not require the Labor Certification process at all. For example, foreign workers with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers do not need an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor. If the Labor Certification process is required, it will affect whether and when a foreign worker will be able to apply for a green card to get residency inside the U.S.

Labor Certification for a foreign worker with only a bachelor’s degree level of education and experience might be approved, but it would be wise to have a labor certification approved based on different criteria. At that level of education, the foreign worker may not be able to obtain residency for many years because fewer green cards are allotted each year for persons with just a bachelor’s degree. As such, it is likely that the foreign worker with an approved labor certification based on a bachelor’s degree will have to wait years for a green card to become available.

It is important to get the advice of a professional immigration specialist prior to submitting an application for labor certification because she can make sure that the Labor Certification is approved in a way that will enable the foreigner to apply for legal permanent residency as soon as possible. Consulting with a professional immigration attorney at Blandon Law is the best way to ensure labor certification is approved in a category that will allow a foreign worker to fill a position inside the U.S. by obtaining legal permanent residency (identified by a green card) as quickly as possible.