BALCA upholds denial of LC based upon failure to comply with PERM advertising rules

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently upheld the final determination of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for an alien worker for the position of “Chinese Specialty Cook.”

In the aforementioned case, the employer filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker. The significant facts of the case were: the alien signed the application on November 19, 2005; the employer’s attorney signed the application on December 13, 2005; the employer’s president signed the application on December 3, 2006; and the employer ran advertisements in a newspaper of general circulation on May 7, 2006 and May 14, 2006, and all of these facts were indicated within the application for labor certification. The CO denied certification because the advertisements used for recruitment did not occur within the requisite timeframe. The PERM regulations clearly state that advertisements for recruitment must occur at least 30 days, but no more than 180 days, prior to the date the application was filed.

The CO received request for reconsideration from the employer’s attorney. In response, the employer’s attorney submitted evidence indicating that advertisements were run in a newspaper and a journal for three consecutive days in June of 2005. Additionally, the employer’s attorney mistakenly had filed the labor application with the State Workforce Agency rather than directly with a federal Certifying Officer, and had to re-file with the latter. The employer’s attorney confessed error in the timing of the advertisements, but urged that they did in fact advertise, and did not receive any responses. The employer’s attorney alleged that the error was procedural. After reviewing the request, the CO denied reconsideration. The employer requested BALCA review.

Upon BALCA review, it was determined that the new rules of PERM were applicable to the present case. The PERM regulations require that ETA form 9089 be utilized rather than ETA form 750, and that applications be filed directly with a federal Certifying Officer rather than a State Workforce Agency. The employer had applied for certification for a non-professional position. Under the regulations, for a non-professional position, the employer must, at a minimum, place a job order and two newspaper advertisements within 6 months of filing the application. Unfortunately, the employer’s motion for reconsideration did not remedy the timing problem with the advertisements. Moreover, regardless of whether the employer’s advertisements were run in May 2005, June 2005 or would be run in May 2006, none of those dates fit within the requisite timeframe in support of a labor certification application filed under PERM. Additionally, the employer’s attorney requested equitable relief for its error in filing the pre-PERM application rather than the PERM application. BALCA denied equitable relief as the facts surrounding the case did not present a compelling case for the application of equitable relief. Accordingly, BALCA affirmed the final determination of the CO in denying certification for not complying with the new advertising rules for PERM.