Permanent labor certification is an authorization that is issued by the Department of Labor (DOL). The authorization allows employers to hire non-US workers to work in the US on a permanent basis. The employer must first submit labor certification applications and get those applications approved before sponsoring an immigrant worker for a green card. The labor certification application exists to ensure that employers only hire permanent foreign workers in cases where no US workers are able, willing, or qualified to do the work. Labor certification ensures that jobs and job standards are safeguarded for current authorized workers in the US. The labor certification process can be quite complex and involves:
- Filing the application. The employer needs to correctly fill out and file the Application for Permanent Employment Certification (Form 9089). The form asks the employer to outline the details of the job (including all requirements of the job) and the qualifications of the employer for whom the application is being filed.
- Providing signatures. If form 9089 is filed by mail, the employer must make sure that the foreign worker, employer, and any preparers have signed the form. If the application is filed electronically, all original signatures must be gathered once the certification is issued.
- Providing information about the prevailing wage for the job. The employer needs to get wage information from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) and must include the SOC, the wage tracking number, the prevailing wage, the wage source, the skill level, the formal job title, the determination date, and the expiration date on form 9089. All this information is available from the NPWC.
- Documenting and showing recruitment efforts. Unless the employer is filing form 9089 with Schedule A or is filing the form on behalf of some workers under 20 CFR 656.16, the employer needs to show that he or she tried to recruit qualified US workers for the position and was not able to find qualified or willing US workers for the job. The recruitment must be completed in compliance with 20 CFR 656.17(e)(1). As part of this requirement, the employer must be able to show recruitment report, which outlines how many US applicants were considered for the job and why the candidates were not qualified.
- Holding onto documentation. The Certifying Officer of the form may request additional information from the employer and any form 9089 submitted may be subject to audits. Therefore, employers need to hang onto any and all documents that may relate to their case. For example, they should keep a copy of the resumes of any applicant that applied for the job. This information may be required before labor certification is granted. The employer must keep any supporting documentation and a copy of form 9089 for five years from the fate of filing.