Articles Posted in BALCA Decisions

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Business Development Manager-IV.”

After receiving and reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit. He directed the Employer to present copies of its recruitment records. The Employer responded with its New Jersey State Workforce Agency (SWA) Job order that was administered through America’s Job Exchange (AJE).

Once the CO received the audit materials, he denied certification of the application. The CO cited the position communicated in its recruitment advertising did not match the one listed on the Employer’s ETA Form 9089 in violation of PERM Regulations 656.17 (f)(6). In its Labor Application, the Employer stated the position required “a Master’s Degree and 12 months of experience in the job offered.” In its SWA job order, the experience requirement listed “Mid-Career (2-15 years).”

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “MR Clinical Development Leader.”

The CO denied the labor certification without audit stating the alternative requirements for the position were not substantially equivalent to the primary job requirements on the ETA Form 9089. On the form, the Employer mentions as an alternative requirement for this position “any suitable combination of education, training and experience as an MR clinical development leader, MR Applications Production Manager, Clinical Scientist, Radiographer or as a MR Specialist.” However, the Employer lists “Bachelor’s degree in Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry or Medical Technology and 60 months of progressively responsible post-bachelor’s experience and some experience with MR equipment, product and/or application development.” The CO believed the “any suitable combination” wording did not specify the minimum acceptable requirement, so he denied the application in violation of PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(h)(4)(i).

The Employer requested reconsideration of the denial stating the CO misread their answers to the questions on the form. They argued the minimum requirements are substantially the same as the primary requirements listed on the ETA Form. The Employer mentioned PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.3, “if the employer is willing to accept work experience in lieu of a baccalaureate or higher degree, such work experience…must be stated on the application form.”

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Senior Systems Analyst.”

Upon evaluating an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied the Labor Application because he believed it violated PERM regulation 20 CFR 656.17(f)(4). The CO denied certification because “the newspaper advertisement failed to list the correct geographical area of employment with enough specificity to apprise applicants of any travel requirements.” He pointed out the physical area of employment contained in the employer’s job ad in the San Francisco Chronicle as well as hotjobs.yahoo.com does not match the one listed on the ETA Form. The ad lists San Francisco, while Fremont is recorded on the ETA Form. The CO stated these two cities are located in different “Metropolitan Statistical Areas” (MSA).

The Employer filed an appeal to BALCA. They declared that the CO made an error in thinking Fremont and San Francisco were in different MSA’s. The Employer argued that the “advertisements complied with PERM requirements and DOL guidelines for roaming positions.” As evidence, the Employer requested BALCA to take administrative notice of a printout from the Census Bureau’s website which lists the MSA’s, among other evidence. In addition, they wanted the Board to review a “County to County” commuting chart from the San Francisco Bay area. The Employer explained that Fremont is the company’s headquarters but the locations of the job are yet unknown.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Industrial/Organizational Psychologist.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification. The Employer presented its response and the CO issued a Notification of Supervised Recruitment. A few weeks later, the Employer sent a copy of the proposed job advertisement as well as a copy of the foreign worker’s Master’s degree and school transcripts. In response, the CO requested a signed sworn statement and documentation that explains why training is not realistic to meet the requirements for the particular position. The Employer responded with the required documents. The CO sent the Employer the resumes it had received from advertising. Two months later, the Employer submitted its recruitment report and accompanying records.

Upon review of the recruitment report, the CO denied certification of the labor application. He stated the Employer turned down qualified U.S. job applicants for “non-lawful job-related reasons.” The CO believed there were at least three fitting candidates for the job opening that were refused because the Employer believed they did not meet the minimum requirements. In his denial, the CO cited the Employer’s statement on the ETA Form 9089, “will accept any suitable combination of education, training and experience.”

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Bilingual Programmer.”

After obtaining & examining an Employer’s application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification ordering the Employer to submit a copy of the State Workforce Agency’s (SWA) job order. The Employer replied to the Audit within 30 days.

The CO denied labor certification stating “the SWA offered employment terms and conditions of employment that were less favorable than those offered to the alien.” On the SWA job order, the position “required drug testing/screening and background checks.” These requirements were not listed on the Employer’s ETA Form 9089. The Employer requested reconsideration and attached an amended copy of the ETA Form 9089 that listed the required drug testing/screening and background checks.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Senior Food Technologist.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied the application. He believed that the Washington Examiner, where the employer placed its Sunday job postings, did not classify as a newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment. The CO was certain most job seekers would choose a paper with a larger classified section and job advertisements. He based his denial on PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. 656.17 (e)(1)(i)(B)(1). This regulation mandates newspaper advertisements for recruitment must be placed “in the newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment most appropriate to the occupation and the workers likely to apply for the job opportunity; and most likely to bring responses from able, willing, qualified and available U.S. workers.”

After the denial, the Employer requested reconsideration of the case. The Employer argued the Washington Examiner did have a substantial classified section. They stated the newspaper “has a classified section with advertisements for a large number of job opportunities that included both professional & non-professional positions.” In its reconsideration request, the Employer included a “Wikipedia” article about the Washington Examiner. The Employer argued that because of the size of the circulation of the Examiner as reported on the Wikipedia page, it was in fact the newspaper most appropriate to the occupation and workers.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Operating Engineer.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied certification of the application because the Employer had placed their State Workforce Agency (SWA) job order more than 180 days prior to the filing of their ETA Form 9089.

The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO arguing that “the 180 day period should be calculated based on the end date of the SWA, rather than the date it commenced.” To interpret the regulations otherwise would penalize employers who wanted to run their SWA’s for longer than 180 days. The CO did reconsider but afterwards, he confirmed the denial. Not happy with the outcome, the Employer appealed the decision to BALCA and restated its argument.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Computer SW Engineers, Applications.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification. He requested the Employer provide its recruitment documentation and a copy of its Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD). The Employer responded and the CO denied certification on two grounds. First, the wage offered in the Notice of Filing and job order was lower than the PWD. The Employer offered $59,467 and the PWD was $59.467.20. In addition, the CO stated the Employer failed to make available copies of employer notices on its employee referral program with incentives.

The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO arguing the 0.0003% discrepancy should not cause their labor application to be denied. They indicated their use of “the Department of Foreign Labor’s Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) Data Center Online Wage Library to determine the appropriate annual wage.” The Employer also stated that it had provided a flier of its Employee Referral Program as well as data in its Recruitment Report about the program. Despite the Employer’s claims, the CO delivered a second denial and forwarded the case to BALCA for assessment.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Hardwood Floor Installer.”

Upon evaluating the Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, an Audit was issued. In this Audit Notification, the CO asked the Employer to explain why US workers were rejected. After reviewing the Audit response, the CO denied the labor certification stating the Employer rejected three US applicants for reasons that were not job related. The CO “found the rejections were based on the failure to meet the Employer’s job requirement of having two years of hardwood floor installation experience.” He discovered three of the candidates have other experience in the construction industry that he believed would meet the requirements for the job.

The Employer requested reconsideration and BALCA review. They argued the CO was wrong in judging these three candidates were qualified for the position. Even though the applicants did have experience in “general carpentry/and or construction,” they did not believe this experience was enough to meet the requirements of the Hardwood Floor Installer job. The Employer included a Business Necessity Letter in its Audit response materials. The Employer pointed out that one of the candidates did have skills in hard wood flooring installation but he did not list how he obtained that experience. The employer also provided proof to the CO of letters that they had sent to the US worker applicants asking for them to contact the company with further information on their qualifications. The Employer claimed none of them responded to the letters.

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Nursery Manager.”

After reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification. He wanted the Employer to submit a copy of the State Workforce Agency’s (SWA) Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD). The Employer submitted a PWD from “The Survey Group” along with a letter from this company that provided a job description which was similar to the Nursery Manager’s position, specifically, the position was titled – Nursery Technician.

The CO then informed the Employer that they would need to conduct supervised recruitment. The CO ordered the company “to obtain an updated PWD from the National Prevailing Wage Center.” The CO asserted the PWD listed on the Employer’s 9089 Form was no longer valid. As part of its response to the Supervised Recruitment, the Employer insisted that the CO did not have the authority to instruct them to obtain a new PWD. The Employer also sent a draft advertisement that included the original PWD. The CO issued a Draft Advertisement Correction because “the wage offer was lower than the current prevailing wage.” He directed them to send a new advertisement with a PWD that was equal to or surpassed the current PWD.