Labor Certificaton Process



Obtaining a green card (permanent residence) can be accomplished through sponsorship of a US employer. The process is known as labor certification. It is a three step process.

  1. The attorney and employer develop a title and duties for a full time position with the employer’s company, including the education and experience requirements. The attorney submits the job description to the labor department of the state where the job is located. The state then determines the prevailing wage. That is the lowest wage that the employer can offer. There is no limit on the maximum that the employer can offer, but it cannot be less than paid to other employees holding the same job in that company with a similar background. The employer must then advertise the job through the state’s department of labor website, in newspapers, and depending upon the requirements for the job, at least three other forms of advertising. The goal of the recruitment is prove that the employer cannot find someone with the minimum qualifications for the job offered who is willing and able to accept it. After this recruitment period, the attorney prepares and submits the labor certification application with the US Department of Labor through the Internet. Once the application is approved, you move along to the second step.
  2. This next step is the employer’s application with US Immigration for an immigrant petition for alien (foreign) worker. This involves proving four items in particular:
    1. No suitable candidate was found for the job offered (proven by the approved labor certification from step 1.)
    2. The education and experience requirements indicated by the employer are fair and realistic for the job (this can be shown by various reports and other sources published by the US Department of Labor).
    3. You (the applicant) are qualified for the job offered based upon your education and work experience gained after your education.
    4. The employer is capable of paying the salary offered for the job (generally proven by submitting the employer’s tax return or financial reports).
  3. When step 2 is approved, you and your immediate family (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) can apply for your permanent residence (green card). This can be done in the US through a process called adjustment of status or at the US Consulate in your home country through a process called consular processing. If you apply in the US, you are entitled to simultaneously apply for work and travel permission while your application is pending, which generally takes about six months.