A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor allows an employer to hire a foreign national to work permanently in the United States. In most cases, the employer must obtain a certified labor certification from the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration before filing an immigration petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Department of Labor must certify to USCIS that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the position in the area of intended employment and that the employment of a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. After the labor certification application is certified by the Department of Labor, it then must be submitted to USCIS along with the Form I-140 and required supporting documents. The certification has a validity period of 180 days and expires if not submitted within this time period.
A labor certification must be obtained on behalf of an alien applying for lawful permanent residence under the following employment-based preference classifications:
- EB-2 Holders of advanced degrees (unless also applying for a national interest waiver)
- EB-2 Individuals of exceptional ability (unless also applying for a national interest waiver)
- EB-3 Professions (unless filing under Schedule A blanket certification, i.e. Nurses or Physical Therapists)
- EB-3 Skilled workers
- EB-3 Unskilled workers