The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in specialized occupations. The process of obtaining an H-1B visa involves several steps, one of which is the Labor Certification (LC) process. Here's an overview of the H-1B visa and the Labor Certification (LC) process:
Eligibility: To be eligible for an H-1B visa, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation that requires specialized knowledge and a minimum of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
Employer Sponsorship: The U.S. employer must sponsor your H-1B visa by filing a petition on your behalf with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The employer must demonstrate that the position qualifies as a specialty occupation and that they will pay you the prevailing wage for the role.
Cap and Lottery System: The H-1B visa program has an annual numerical cap on the number of visas that can be issued each fiscal year. If the number of applications exceeds the cap, USCIS conducts a random lottery to select the petitions that will proceed for adjudication.
Form I-129: The employer files Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with supporting documentation, including the labor condition application (LCA), to initiate the H-1B visa process.
Approval and Period of Stay: If the H-1B petition is approved, you can generally stay in the United States for an initial period of up to three years. Extensions may be granted, up to a maximum total stay of six years, with exceptions for certain circumstances.
Labor Certification (LC):
Purpose: The Labor Certification (LC) process is part of the H-1B visa application for positions that require a labor certification, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The labor certification ensures that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact U.S. workers' job opportunities and wages.
PERM Labor Certification: The Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM) is the most common type of labor certification used for H-1B visas. It requires the employer to demonstrate that they have conducted a recruitment process to fill the position with U.S. workers but were unable to find qualified U.S. workers for the role.
Recruitment and Advertising: The employer must follow specific recruitment steps, including posting job advertisements and conducting recruitment efforts, as outlined by the DOL. The purpose is to test the labor market and identify potential U.S. workers for the position.
Prevailing Wage Determination: The employer must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL before filing the labor certification application. The prevailing wage is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the same occupation in the specific geographic area of intended employment.
Form ETA-9089: The employer files Form ETA-9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification, with the DOL, providing details about the job opportunity, recruitment efforts, prevailing wage information, and the qualifications required for the position.
DOL Review and Certification: The DOL reviews the labor certification application to ensure compliance with program requirements. If the application is approved, the employer receives a certified labor certification, which is required to proceed with the H-1B visa petition.
The H-1B visa and Labor Certification (LC) process can be complex and require careful adherence to regulations and deadlines. It is advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or professional who can guide you through the process, assist with document preparation, and provide support throughout the H-1B visa application, including the Labor Certification (LC) process.