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Labor Certification is the processing of obtaining green card through employment in the United States. The process is intended to protect the United States workers and the United States labor market from influx of foreign worker seeking green card. The process seeks to ensure that only qualified foreign workers are allowed to immigrant into the United States as immigrants.

There are many options available to United States employers who wish to hire foreign workers for permanent or temporary assignment. For those employers who intend to hire permanent foreign workers, labor certification is the first process. Labor certification is the process of screening foreign workers to ensure that they are well qualified and also to ensure that the foreign workers do not displace American workers. Specifically, labor certification involves the process of proving that there are no qualified United States workers for the position being offered.

A United States employer who wishes to employ a foreign worker, must first offer the foreign worker an employment, the position will be advertised either in a recognized newspaper or a national daily. The responding applicants will be interviewed to determine whether there are qualified United States citizen or permanent resident for the job. If there are no qualified United States citizen or permanent resident for the advertised position, then the applicant will be certified to take the job. This is what is called “labor certification”.

The labor certification process in conducted by the Department of labor through what is called “labor condition application”. Before filing the labor condition application, the employer, through its lawyer, has to determine the prevailing wages for the particular position. Once the prevailing wage is determined, the labor condition application is filed with the Department of Labor. If the labor condition application is approved, a labor certification is issued to the employer for that foreign worker and for the particular job. The labor certification approval is the basis for filing Form I-140 with the United States citizenship & Immigration Services.

If the Form I-140 is approved, the next step is to file Form I-485 with the United States citizenship & Immigration Services, that is, if the foreign national resides in the United States and is in current non-immigrant status. If the foreign national resides overseas, then approved Form I-140 is sent to the Department of States for further processing. This is a long process.