BALCA upholds denial of Labor application – Misinterpretation of Statutory Regulations

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 Auto Mechanic.

The Employer filed a LC on behalf of the alien worker and it was accepted for processing in January of 2007. The Employer stated in the application that the job was a nonprofessional position. The Employer indicated that it had run the State Workforce Agency (SWA) job order from December 15, 2006 until January 17, 2007, and submitted the application by mail on January 22, 2007. Thereafter, the CO issued a denial letter. The CO based the denial in part on the SWA job order not being in compliance with the statutory regulations. In March of 2007, the Employer’s owner requested review arguing that the SWA job order was completed at least 30 days prior to submission of the application. Subsequently, the CO issued a letter of reconsideration. The CO stated that the Employer had misunderstood the regulatory requirement which requires that the job order end at least 30 days prior to the ETA Form 9089 filing date. The CO said the application must be denied because the end date of the job order, (January 17, 2007) was less than 30 days prior to the filing date (January 22, 2007). The CO then forwarded the case to the Board. The Employer did not submit an appellate brief in support of its position, whereas the CO did file an appellate brief urging affirmation of the denial.

Upon BALCA review, it was determined in accordance with 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(e) that the job order must have been completed at least 30 days, but no more than 180 days before filing of the application, and it must have been at least 30 days in duration. The Board agreed with the CO about the Employer’s misinterpretation of the statutory regulation, and held that it was clearly a violation of the regulations by filing the application less than 30 days after the SWA job order ended. The Board explained that the regulatory time requirement was designed to ensure that the Employer had sufficient time to receive resumes, make contact with any applicants, conduct interviews, and make decisions regarding any U.S. applicants who may have applied for the job opportunity in response to the recruitment effort. Accordingly, the CO properly denied certification.

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