BALCA upholds denial of Labor application – Employer failed to rebut NOF

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 Domestic Tutor. This LC was filed prior to the effective date of the “PERM” regulations.

The employer, a private household filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker in June of 2004. The requirements for the position were a high school education, four years of training as a domestic, and four years of experience in the job offered. In May of 2007, the CO issued a Notice of Findings (NOF) proposing to deny certification due to numerous defects in the application. First, the Director found that the job requirements were unduly restrictive in violation of the regulations, and as such were in excess of the requirements listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). The DOT lists a specific vocational preparation (SVP) for this job as “over one month and up to three months” of combined education, training and experience. The CO instructed that this issue could be rebutted by one of two ways: (1) establish a business necessity for the job requirement, or (2) reduce the requirements to the DOT standard. Additionally, the CO determined that the documentation provided did not establish that the alien worker had the four years of training and four years of experience in the job prior to being hired. The CO provided that the employer could rebut this finding by: (1) documenting that the alien worker had the required training and experience at the time of hire; (2) submitting evidence that it is not presently feasible due to business necessity to hire a worker with less than the qualifications presently required for the job opportunity and demonstrate that the job as currently described existed before the alien was hired, or (3) amending or deleting the requirement. Another defect noted in the NOF was that the Employer had not documented that the alien worker had one year of full time experience performing the duties of the job offered in a domestic household as required by the regulations. The CO provided that this defect too could be rebutted by submitting specific information. Lastly, the CO identified that the wage offered in the application was $9.00 per hour, which was below the prevailing wage of $13.34 per hour. The CO informed the employer this defect could also be rebutted by: (1) amending the application and increasing the salary offer to at least 100% of the prevailing wage, or (2) submit alternative wage data. In its rebuttal, the employer stated that there was business necessity, that overwhelming evidence had been submitted to establish that the alien had the requisite experience at the time of hire, and amended the application to increase the salary to $14.00 per hour.

The CO stated that the Employer’s rebuttal evidence corrected the prevailing wage defect, but the Employer’s rebuttal was not sufficient to correct the other three deficiencies in the application. Thereafter, the CO issued its final determination denying certification because the Employer did not correct all deficiencies in its labor application. Subsequently, the employer requested BALCA review.

The regulations require that an employer must document that its requirements for the job opportunity are those normally required for the successful performance of the job in the United States. Where the employer cannot document that the job requirement is normal for the occupation or that it is included in the DOT, the employer must establish business necessity for the requirement. The Employer indicated that the job requirements arose from a business necessity, however; the employer failed to submit any documentation to verify its statements. Upon BALCA review, it was determined that the Employer did not establish business necessity for the training and experience requirements in excess of those set forth in the DOT. The Employer stated that they would amend the application to rebut the findings of the Director, however; only the wage section of the application had been amended. In summary, the Employer did not submit any documentation on rebuttal to cure the defects noted by the CO. Thus, the CO properly denied certification.

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