BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – PERM: Failure to Prove Business Necessity

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 “Supervisor/Service Manager.”

The employer filed a LC requiring seven years of experience in the job offered, and the case was later selected for audit. The Audit letter requested that the Employer provide proof of business necessity for the excessive experience requirement, and submission of its recruitment report, among other documents. After the Employer submitted its response, the CO denied certification based on failure to prove business necessity.

The CO then forwarded the case to BALCA. The Employer filed an Appeal by letter which included an argument from the Employer’s President explaining why the Employer needed the Alien’s skills in speaking English, French and Spanish, but did not address why the experience requirement was so long. 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(h)(1) controls and provides that “The job opportunity’s requirements, unless adequately documented as arising from business necessity, must be those normally required for the occupation and must not exceed the Specific Vocational Preparation level assigned to the occupation as shown in the O*NET Job Zones. To establish a business necessity, an employer must demonstrate that the job duties and requirements bear a reasonable relationship to the occupation in the context of the employer’s business and are essential to perform the job in a reasonable manner.” In the present case, the Employer’s requirement of seven years experience exceeded the O*Net Job Zone SVP for the position. The Board agreed with the CO that the Employer failed to provide an explanation as to why the requirement was excessive.

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