Posted On: July 23, 2009

BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – Newspaper Advertisement omitted Employer’s Name

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the final determination
of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for an alien worker for the position of “Brickmason."

The employer filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker and in October of 2007, the CO issued an Audit Notification letter requesting among other documents, its recruitment documentation. The Employer complied with the request; however a newspaper advertisement failed to contain the Employer’s name. In May of 2008, the CO issued a letter denying certification. In June of 2008, the Employer filed a request for reconsideration providing that if anything the omission was harmless error, as they had received three resumes in response to the advertisement, and compared their case to the Board’s decision in HealthAmerica. The CO issued a letter of reconsideration but affirmed the denial for the deficiency in including the Employer’s name in the newspaper advertisement. The CO further provided that inclusion of the Employer’s name allows potential applicants to identify the employer and determine if they will apply, and that some applicants may be unwilling to blindly apply for a position in which they do not know the identity of the Employer.

The CO then forwarded the case to BALCA. The Employer filed a brief providing that applicants were not prevented from applying as the company received three resumes in response to the advertisement, and further relied upon HealthAmerica, providing that “one innocent omission should not be the basis for the entire application to crumble.” The CO filed a letter brief arguing that its decision should be affirmed by the Board, and that HealthAmerica was distinguishable from the present case because it involved a typographical error, not a clear failure to follow the regulations governing advertisements.

Upon BALCA review, regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f)(1) controls and provides that “advertisements placed in newspapers of general circulation or in professional journals before filing the Application for Permanent Employment Certification must: (1) Name the employer and (2) Direct applicants to report or send resumes, as appropriate for the occupation, to the employer….” Here, the Employer’s newspaper advertisements failed to contain the Employer’s name, in violation of the regulation. The Board stated that the Employer’s argument that applicants were not prevented from applying because they received three resumes was not convincing. The Board reviewed and relied upon the reasoning of the CO, and also found HealthAmerica as distinguishable from the present case.

Accordingly, the Board affirmed the decision of the CO in denying labor certification.

Posted On: July 22, 2009

E-Verify Employer DO’S and DON’TS

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has recently comprised a list of various DO’S and DON’TS for Employers when utilizing the E-Verify program.

DO…use E-Verify on all NEW employees, after they have completed Form I-9
DO…post required notices of the Employer’s participation in E-Verify
DO…secure the privacy of Employee’s personal information
DON’T…use the E-Verify program to verify CURRENT employees
DON’T…use the E-Verify program based upon SUSPICION
DON’T…terminate or take adverse action against an employee contesting a tentative nonconfirmation

For the complete list of the DO’S and DON’TS associated with the E-VERIFY program, please click here!

Posted On: July 21, 2009

BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – Failure to provide documentation requested in Audit Notification Letter

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

The employer filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker and in November of 2007, the CO issued an Audit Notification letter requesting among other documents; Notice of Filing, the recruitment report, the prevailing wage determination, and documentation of recruitment. The Employer’s attorney filed a response indicating that it had a prior approved labor certification for the same position with the exact same requirements, therefore the present application warranted an approval for certification, and if not, the CO needed to thoroughly explain why. In January of 2008, the CO issued a letter denying certification. In February of 2008, the Employer filed a request for review arguing that the CO’s determination was unfair and arbitrary. The CO issued a letter of reconsideration in February of 2009 and provided that the Employer failed to comply with the Audit therefore, the denial was appropriate.

The CO then forwarded the case to BALCA. The Employer filed a brief on the same basis as its earlier argument (the prior approval of the earlier application for the same position, same requirements warranted an approval of the present application). The CO filed a letter brief arguing that its decision should be affirmed by the Board.

Upon BALCA review, regulation 656.20(b) controls and provides that a “substantial failure by the
employer to provide required documentation will result in that application being denied
under § 656.24 ….” Here, the CO requested that the Employer provide certain documents in response to its audit notification letter. The Employer failed to provide the requested documents, and failed to give a reason for not providing the documents. The Board further provided that although similar applications have been certified in the past, it does not in any way excuse an employer from producing documentation in response to an Audit Notification.

Accordingly, the Board affirmed the decision of the CO in denying labor certification.

Posted On: July 20, 2009

BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – AUDIT: Failure to provide Recruitment Report

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the final determination
of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for an alien worker for the position of “Beautician."

The employer filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker and in March of 2008, the CO issued an Audit Notification letter requesting among other documents, the recruitment report. The Employer complied with the request for other documents, but failed to submit the recruitment report. In May of 2008, the CO issued a letter denying certification. In October of 2008, the CO issued a letter of reconsideration in which it thoroughly reviewed the applicant’s file and still could not find the recruitment report. Accordingly, since the Employer failed to comply with the Audit (submission of the recruitment report), the denial was appropriate.

The CO then forwarded the case to BALCA. The Employer filed a Statement of Intent to Proceed with the appeal, and did not file a brief. The CO filed a letter brief arguing that its decision should be affirmed by the Board.

Upon BALCA review, regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(g) controls and provides that, the employer is required to “prepare a recruitment report signed by the employer or the employer's representative noted … describing the recruitment steps undertaken and the results achieved, the number of hires, and, if applicable, the number of U.S. workers rejected, categorized by the lawful job related reasons for such rejections.” Further, when PERM application is selected for the audit procedure, failure to provide requested documents to the CO will result in the application being denied. Here, the CO specifically identified the requested documents, and the recruitment report was not submitted. Thereafter, the Employer had the ability to make an argument on appeal, but failed to do so. Without a report, the CO could not determine whether the recruitment procedures complied with the regulations.

Accordingly, the Board had to affirm the decision of the CO in denying labor certification.

Posted On: July 16, 2009

Updated Service Centers Processing Times

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Centers were released on July 15, 2009 with processing dates as of May 31, 2009.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

California Service Center
National Benefits Center
Nebraska Service Center
Texas Service Center
Vermont Service Center

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS. (1-800-375-5283)
If you would like our assistance, feel free to contact our office.

Posted On: July 13, 2009

August 2009 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin. The August 2009 visa bulletin still shows employment based third preference (EB-3) visas as oversubscribed while the employment based second preference (EB-2) is current for all areas of chargeability except for China and India.

Click here to view the August 2009 Visa Bulletin.

Posted On: July 9, 2009

LATEST UPDATE - FY 2010 H-1B Cap Count

On July 8, 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of July 3rd, 2009, 45,000 H-1B cap subject nonimmigrant visa petitions have been filed. USCIS has advised that they will continue to accept petitions until the cap is reached. Additionally, USCIS reported that they received 20,000 advanced degree H-1B petitions. Although the limit on advanced degree petitions is 20,000, past experience has tended to show that not all petitions received are approvable.

Accordingly, qualifying applicants are still able to petition for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa either under the general cap, or as an applicant with an advanced degree. (i.e., U.S. Master’s degree)

If you have any questions surrounding the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program, please contact our office.

Posted On: July 8, 2009

Form I-9 Remains Valid beyond 6/30/09 expiration date

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that the 2/2/09 revision of Form I-9, which is currently located on the USCIS website will remain valid until futher notice. The version of the form currently on the website was set to expire on June 30, 2009.

If you have any questions regarding Form I-9 and your business, please contact our office.

Posted On: July 7, 2009

Clarification as to the FCCPT's substantial equivalency of foreign-educated Physical Therapists (PT)

The Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) issued a letter clarifying its educational equivalency for foreign educated Physical Therapists in February of 2009. Recently, there has been much confusion over the issue.

The FCCPT is the only entity authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to issue such certificates, which verify that a foreign applicant has acquired an education substantially equivalent to the US standard in education of physical therapists.

In summary, the letter provides that when the FCCPT issues a Type 1 Comprehensive Credentials Review Certificate, it is asserting that the applicant has acquired at least a Master’s degree or higher in Physical Therapy, as required under the regulations.

Posted On: July 6, 2009

BALCA vacates CO’s denial of Labor Certification involving Employer’s FEIN

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

The employer filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker in February of 2006. In November of 2007, the CO denied certification under 20 C.F.R. § 656.3 because he was unable to verify the Employer as a bona fide entity. The CO did not explicitly request proof of the employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). In response to the denial, the Employer submitted a copy of a prior approved labor certification arguing that it was for the same employer, same address, same telephone number, and same FEIN. The Employer also submitted a Yellow Pages advertisement for the company, and the company’s business license in a request to the CO for reconsideration. Thereafter, in March of 2009, the CO issued a letter of reconsideration providing that the application would be denied because the applying company could not be verified as a bona fide entity under the regulations. Specifically, the CO stated that the other application contained a FEIN different from the application presently under review; therefore it did not serve as verification of a bona fide entity. Accordingly, since the Employer failed to provide proof of a valid FEIN, the denial was appropriate.

The CO then forwarded the case to BALCA. The Employer submitted an appellate brief arguing that at no time did the CO clarify that he wanted proof of a valid FEIN, and furthermore, never requested such proof. The CO filed a letter brief arguing that its decision should be affirmed by the Board because the Employer did not provide a valid FEIN as required under the regulations.

Upon BALCA review, regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.3 controls, it provides that to be considered an “Employer” for the permanent labor certification program, an entity must possess a valid FEIN. The Board agreed with the CO that the two application’s FEIN’s did not match, but determined that the Employer’s argument regarding the absence of a request for the FEIN had some merit. The Board determined that the CO’s denial did not address the issue sufficiently to provide the Employer an opportunity to appropriately address the situation. The Board concluded that fundamental fairness was required, and ordered the CO to allow the Employer to clear up the inconsistency in its FEINs submitted.

Accordingly, the CO’s denial was vacated for further proceedings consistent with the Board’s decision.

Posted On: July 3, 2009

LATEST UPDATE - FY 2010 H-1B Cap Count

On June 30, 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of June 26, 2009, 44,800 H-1B cap subject nonimmigrant visa petitions have been filed. USCIS has advised that they will continue to accept petitions until the cap is reached. Additionally, USCIS reported that they received 20,000 advanced degree H-1B petitions. Although the limit on advanced degree petitions is 20,000, past experience has tended to show that not all petitions received are approvable.

Accordingly, qualifying applicants are still able to petition for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa either under the general cap, or as an applicant with an advanced degree. (i.e., U.S. Master’s degree)

If you have any questions surrounding the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program, please contact our office.

Posted On: July 3, 2009

Form I-9, ICE Audit Initiative

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold new audit initiative on July 1, 2009 to combat the problem of hiring of an illegal workforce.

On July 1, 652 businesses nationwide were served with Audit Notifications indicating that ICE would be inspecting their hiring records (Form I-9) to determine whether they are in accordance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.

The businesses presented with the Notice of Intent to Audit Form I-9 were selected as a result of leads and other information obtained through other investigative measures.

This is the first step for ICE in its nationwide plan to promote compliance with the employment eligibility laws through an effective I-9 Audit system.


*Form I-9 must be completed for each new hire. The form requires the employer to review several personal identification documents of the new hire (i.e., passport, permanent resident card, employment authorization card, driver’s license, birth certificate, military id, etc) and to determine the genuineness of the documents.

If you are interested in conducting an I-9 Audit to ensure your company’s compliance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations, feel free to contact our office.

Posted On: July 1, 2009

REMINDER - File LCAs with the new iCert System beginning 7/1/09!

Effective July 1, 2009, all users of the Old LCA system must begin using the new iCert system located on the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration website to file LCAs.