BALCA reverses denial of Labor Certification – Employer Omissions on ETA Form 9089 were not material as other information provided on the Form answered the essential question posed by the Form

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

The employer filed a LC which was accepted for processing on June 5, 2006. On September 20th, the CO denied the application because several required selections on the form had not been made by the Employer. The Employer thereafter requested reconsideration at the end of October. In its request for reconsideration, the Employer’s attorney provided responses to the omissions and believed that the request for reconsideration was to determine that the 30 day deadline had not elapsed. The Employer argued that each of the omissions was not material to the adjudication of the application as other information provided within the form answered the essential questions posed by the form. The Employer clearly stated in the motion for reconsideration that it was providing reasons for omissions in the event that the CO accepted the motion despite its lack of timeliness. Thereafter the CO accepted the Employer’s explanations for several of the selections, but found that the denial was valid because the Employer still did not provide information on what should be completed for the omitted selections. On appeal, the CO moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that it was not timely. The Employer thereafter filed a response opposing the CO’s motion to dismiss.

PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(a) controls and it requires that an employer who desires to apply for a labor certification on behalf of an alien must file a completed Department of Labor (DOL) Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089). The regulation goes on to provide that incomplete applications will be denied. In the instant case, the Board found that the CO waived the issue of timeliness and made their decision based upon the materiality of the omissions. The Board recognized that some omissions may not be material to the review of the substance of an application and stated that the Employer made reasonable arguments as to why, in context, the omissions all were not material; however, the CO proffered no explanation for why the omissions prevented a complete review of the application.

Accordingly, the Board declined to affirm the decision of the CO in denying labor certification and returned the matter to the CO for the issuance of a labor certification.

Matter of Ben Pumo