While many immigrants make their way to the United States via their family connections, many choose to try and obtain a job in the country. In order to do so, however, they must obtain both a visa and a labor certification (and in some cases, a specific job offer, depending on the visa sought). A lot of misinformation circulates when discussing visas and supporting documents, however, so if you intend to take a temporary job in the U.S., or eventually adjust status to permanent residency, you need to know what is true and what is false.
Labor Condition Applications
Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) are requests filed by employers to the U.S. Department of Labor for permission to hire employees from abroad. They are usually filed for potential workers under H1-B visas, though on occasion they will be utilized for workers under other nonimmigrant classifications. It generally takes only a short time for an LCA to be approved, if all the relevant information is present —usually a week to 10 days.
There are four attestations that must be present in a valid LCA. They are:
Compared to LCAs, labor certifications are somewhat more straightforward, being required for EB-2 and EB-3 visa holders. Labor certifications are obtained for foreign workers who wish to adjust status or immigrate on a permanent basis, and they are intended to show that there are no U.S. workers who are able to do the job in question, even at a minimum level of quality. Labor certifications must be obtained before your employer can submit an immigration petition to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
The program under which a labor certification is obtained is called PERM, and the program usually takes around 90 days to process an application. It is important to understand that if you are awarded a labor certification, then there is a time limit on its validity. If your petition and certification are not submitted to USCIS within 180 days after the certification is issued, it will expire, and you will need to resubmit. Since it is usually the employer who handles such matters, you may have some recourse against them if the request is not filed in time. If not, there is unfortunately very little that you can do.
Ask an Immigration Attorney
Being able to work in your new country is imperative, not only for basic needs, but to show that you can and will contribute to the economy as a whole. If you have questions about labor certifications or LCAs, consulting an attorney who understands the interplay between these documents and employment-based immigration can be critical. The Chicago immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are happy to assist. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.
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