Green Card Labor Certification Process

Employers can sponsor non-US workers for a green card to work in the US. However, in most cases employers must first obtain labor certification by showing that no US workers are willing, available, and qualified for the job. This is not the case if the employee is part of a multinational company or will be doing temporary work in the US, but many jobs do require labor certification. The process of labor certification shows that no US workers will be denied a job because of the non-US worker. There are several steps for obtaining labor certification and a green card for a worker:

1) Get “prevailing wage determination” (PWD). The employer must contact the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) via iCert, and online system. iCert allows the employer to determine what is currently paid in the advertised job. The employer must pay at least the current PWD or more for the job in question.

2) Recruit in the US. The employer must make an honest effort to recruit US workers for the job, by using advertising and other recruitment efforts. The employer must also keep evidence of the recruitment efforts and any replies. When recruiting the employer must follow the recruitment guidelines created by the DOL. These require the employer to post an ad for the job at the worksite and require the employer to advertise the job in newspapers, journals, and a computer database. The DOL requires that the journal or newspaper ads be in publications that have general circulation and requires that employers advertise on at least two different Sundays in these publications. If the employer is seeking a professional worker, there are other DOL regulations that must be met.

3) File the PERM Labor Certification application. If the recruiting does not produce a qualified US worker, the employer must submit DOL form (ETA-9089) to the DOL. The form is available at and can be filed online. Once the application is filed, the employer must wait, in some cases up to one year, to heard back.

4) File a visa petition. If the PERM Labor Certification application is approved, the employer can file a USCIS Form I-140 visa petition for the employee. Once this is approved, the non-US employee must apply for a green card. If the employee is already in the US, he or she can apply for adjustment of status. If the employee is outside the US, he or she must apply for a green card through consular processing.