Labor Certification’s Critical Role in Protecting U.S. Workers

CONTACT: George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC - AILA is dedicated to the rule of law and to the good faith application of our laws, and condemns the use of charade or manipulation to achieve regulatory compliance. The Association is committed to the highest standards of excellence and ethics in immigration practice and does its utmost to educate its members about these standards.

Employers who wish to hire a foreign national for permanent employment are required by regulation to test the U.S. labor market to prove to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Labor that there are "not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available" for the position. Although haunted by a history of processing delays and timing issues, this permanent labor certification process contains significant requirements that protect U.S. workers from unfair employment practices and protect foreign workers from exploitation and abuse. These include:

  • Six different forms of recruitment, including print ads in widely-circulated Sunday newspapers and 30-day job postings with state labor agencies.
  • A requirement that the employer obtain confirmation of the prevailing wage for the position and offer and pay at least that wage.
  • Compliance records that include the employer's review of applicants for the position.

The permanent labor certification process is far from perfect. Its requirements are mechanical, and generally do not reflect how employers ordinarily recruit for positions. While imperfect, the labor certification requirements provide an important check and balance on employers who seek highly qualified workers to fill important positions in their companies.

The preparation of a labor certification application requires a critical assessment of the actual minimum requirements for the position, not a manipulation of facts to reach a desired outcome. AILA is committed to educating its members and to ensuring respect for, and compliance with, the law and regulations.

An employer/employee relationship combined with a strong labor market test is the best protection for all workers. Reforms to our immigration system must preserve and protect this important nexus and vital worker protection. De-coupling the immigration process from any grounding in an employer relationship and establishing a "point system" that would require no proof of a labor shortage in the occupation, as contemplated by the immigration bill currently pending in the U.S. Senate, is an invitation to a disastrous immigration policy.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

For more information call George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Brooke Hewson at 202-216-2435

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 07062270.