BALCA upholds denial of Labor application – Excessive requirement

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 Manager/Video Technician. This LC was filed prior to the effective date of the “PERM” regulations.

The employer, a video parlor and equipment retailer filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker in April of 2001. The requirements for the position included the attainment of a high school education and two years of experience in the job offered. In January of 2007, the CO issued a Notice of Findings (NOF) proposing to deny certification because the alien did not appear to possess the requisite experience prior to his hire. The NOF gave the employer several options to rebut its findings: (1) show that the Alien had the qualifications now required at the time of hire; (2) submit evidence that the alien obtained the required experience working for the employer in jobs not similar to the position for which labor certification was sought; (3) provide documentation that it was not feasible to hire a worker with less than the qualifications required for the position; or (4) delete the requirement. In its rebuttal, the employer argued that it was not presently feasible to hire an employee with less than the qualifications presently required due to business necessity. The employer further contended that there had been a change in the workforce of the company and it was not possible to provide the same training to a new employee. Thereafter, the CO issued its final determination denying certification because the employer’s infeasibility to train argument was not persuasive. Subsequently, the employer requested BALCA review.

Upon BALCA review, an employer must demonstrate that the requirements it specifies for the job are its actual minimum requirements and that it has not hired the alien or other workers with less training or experience for jobs similar to the one offered. Accordingly, one way to avoid a denial is to show that it is not now feasible to hire workers with less training or experience than that required of the position. Where the alien gained the required experience with the employer, infeasibility must be documented – a mere statement is insufficient. In the instant case, the only documentation of infeasibility was the employer’s owner’s rebuttal statement with no collaborating documentation. Thus, the CO properly denied certification.