BALCA and the Employee Referral Program

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently reversed the final determination of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification for an alien worker for the position of “Junior Trading Systems Developer.”

On the Application for Permanent Employment accepted by the CO, the Employer listed the three additional recruitment steps taken to advertise the position. The steps included listing on a job search web site, advertising in a local newspaper as well as advertising with the employee referral program from July 10, 2007 to August 10, 2007. An audit was issued by the CO requesting documentation of the Employer’s employee referral program. Certification was thereafter denied by the CO who cited the Employer failed to include dated copies for the advertising of its employee referral program. In a request for review, the Employer argued that the program is ongoing and every new hire is provided a copy of the memorandum. An email dated March 17, 2008 was also submitted to demonstrate the Employer regularly notified its employees of the program. Further, the Employer contested that the employee referral program used does in fact meet the PERM regulations governing recruitment efforts because of the large number of resumes it receives.

PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.12(e)(1)(ii)(G) controls and it provides that one of the three recruitment efforts can be an employee referral program with incentives. The program can either be documented with “dated copies of the employer notices or memoranda advertising the program and specifying the incentives offered.”

In the instant case, BALCA found the Employer sufficiently provided evidence of its employee referral program as a method of recruiting workers. Documents were submitted specifying the incentives offered, and evidence was provided supporting the program was in existence at the time of recruitment

Accordingly, the Board reversed the decision of the CO and granted labor certification.