Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Article: DOL Policy on Laid-Off U.S. Workers for PERM Labor Certification Applications by Cyrus D. Mehta

Collapse
X
Collapse

  • Article: DOL Policy on Laid-Off U.S. Workers for PERM Labor Certification Applications by Cyrus D. Mehta

    DOL Policy on Laid-Off U.S. Workers for PERM Labor Certification Applications

    by


    The filing of a labor certification application is normally the first step when an employer sponsors a foreign national employee for permanent residence. Under the labor certification process, the employer is required to demonstrate that it unsuccessfully conducted a good faith recruitment of the US labor market at the prevailing wage before it can proceed to sponsor the foreign national employee. The Department of Labor, under the slim authority given to it in INA 212(a)(5) has promulgated complex rules in 20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 656 that govern how an employer must establish a good faith test of the US labor market. These rules, which have created a huge “labor certification bureaucracy”, also reflect a concern for US workers who were laid off within 6 months of filing the labor certification application. Specifically, 20 CFR 656.17(k) provides:

    1. If there has been a layoff by the employer applicant in the area of intended employment within 6 months of filing an application involving the occupation for which certification is sought or in a related occupation, the employer must document it has notified and considered all potentially qualified laid off (employer applicant) U.S. workers of the job opportunity involved in the application and the results of the notification and consideration. A layoff shall be considered any involuntary separation of one or more employees without cause or prejudice.
    2. For the purposes of paragraph (k)(1) of this section, a related occupation is any occupation that requires workers to perform a majority of the essential duties involved in the occupation for which certification is sought.

    The requirement for an employer to have notified and considered all potentially qualified laid-off workers has always been a touchy issue for employers. It is easier for an employer to broadcast advertisements and undertake other prescribed recruitment steps for prospective US workers than for an employer to contact its own prior workers regarding a job opportunity that is the subject of the labor certification application. The notification requirement of all laid off workers in the specific occupation or related occupation has also been open to varying interpretations. Would it suffice if the laid off worker was told to check job opportunities in the future on the employer’s website or must the worker be actually notified when labor certification is being sought in the same job opportunity? The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has added a new question and answer (Q&A) to its frequently asked questions (FAQ). The new Q&A concerns notification and consideration of laid-off U.S. workers for PERM labor certification applications.

    The new Q&A asks, "How does an employer demonstrate that it notified and considered laid-off U.S. workers for the job opportunity listed on the ETA Form 9089?" The answer notes that some employers have misconstrued the regulations to require only that they inform workers when laid off that the employer may have future positions and invite the worker to monitor the employer's job postings and apply, rather than their actively notifying and considering the laid-off workers. In fact, the Q&A notes, misapplication of the regulatory requirements will result in denial of a PERM application. The employer must make a reasonable, good-faith effort to notify each potentially qualified worker who has been laid off during the six months preceding the application whenever a relevant job opening exists and invite the worker to apply.

    The Q&A notes that an employer who files multiple labor certifications can satisfy its responsibilities under the relevant regulation by notifying each laid-off worker (in the manner chosen by the worker) at least once a month that a list of current relevant job openings is maintained electronically on a website operated by the employer. "Simply informing a laid-off worker to monitor the employer's website for future openings and inviting the worker, if interested, to apply for those openings, will not satisfy the employer's regulatory obligation to notify all of its potentially qualified laid-off U.S. workers of the job opportunity," the Q&A states.

    The Q&A adds that an employer must maintain documentation showing that it has met its notice and consideration requirements, including copies of all relevant letters, e-mails, faxes, Web pages (including those listing details of the relevant job openings and applications by laid-off workers for those openings), and other contemporaneous documents that show when and how notice and consideration was given. In addition, an employer must obtain and maintain written documentation that a laid-off worker has declined to receive notices, requested discontinuation of the notices, or refused to give or update contact information.

    While the DOL has clarified the notification requirement for laid-off workers, must an employer contact all laid off workers in the specific or related occupation for which labor certification is sought even if the employer knows that the laid-off worker’s qualifications do not objectively meet the requirements of the position? For example, the job opportunity for which labor certification is being sought, let’s say a Software Engineer, requires five years of experience in certain computer programming languages like C++, Java and Python. The employer knows that a former worker, also a Software Engineer, who was laid off 3 months ago only had 1 year of experience in C++, but not Java and Python. Is the employer required to notify this worker under 20 CFR 656.17(k) when the employer knows that the laid off worker is not qualified for the position?

    The employer must also check off a box on ETA 9089, Section 1.e.26, *which broadly asks whether the employer had a layoff in the area of intended employment in the occupation of the job opportunity or a related occupation within 6 months of filing the application. The checking off the “yes” box is likely to trigger an audit and further scrutiny. The next box Section 1.e.26A, asks “were the laid off U.S. workers notified and considered for the job opportunity for which certification is sought?” If the employer checks off the “no” box or the “NA” box, would that be permissible if the laid off worker is clearly not qualified for the position? **In other words, when an employer knows that a laid-off worker is not potentially qualified, may it only consider the worker’s qualification or does it also need to notify that prior worker? If the labor certification is audited, the DOL will request documentation to establish the number of US workers in the occupation or in a related occupation that were laid off by the employer; a listing of all occupations relevant to the layoffs; an explanation as to why notification or consideration of the employer’s potentially qualified laid-off US workers was not applicable; and proof that any laid off US workers not notified and considered by the employer were not potentially qualified for the job opportunity.

    The Board of Alien Labor Certifications in Matter of Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp, 2011-PER-02902 (BALCA February 10, 2014)* held that an employer was justified in rejecting a laid-off worker who was not qualified for the position. While it is not clear from this decision whether the employer had notified the laid off worker, it is clear from the resume that the laid off worker was not qualified for the position, according to BALCA. The position in the instant case required a very deep knowledge of SAS, including SAS on Unix and SAS for Windows. The laid-off worker did not have experience with these program tools. Although the Certifying Officer in denying the labor certification assumed that the laid off worker would have obtained the same skills and knowledge for the position for which labor certification was sought, having worked with the employer for three years, BALCA found that the CO’s assumption was unfounded and unsupported by the record. Cisco Systems, Inc, 2011-PER-02900 (BALCA April 26, 2013), however, provides more clarity regarding whether an employer needs to notify a laid-off worker who is not qualified for the position. There BALCA held that the employer who had not notified a laid-off worker was justified in its rejection of that worker who clearly lacked the qualifications for the position.

    It may thus be defensible for an employer to not notify all laid off workers in the occupation for which labor certification is sought, or a related occupation, unless the laid off worker is potentially qualified for the position. Of course, when in doubt, the employer must contact the laid-off worker per the new DOL FAQ. Unfortunately, in the world of labor certification, the DOL imposes unrealistic requirements and burdens upon employers, and one can never know how the DOL will react when an employer justifies that its reason for not notifying laid-off workers was because they were unqualified for the position. The DOL has publically indicated that BALCA does not speak for it, and it may not consider itself to be bound by Matter of Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp or Cisco Systems. Therefore, employers are advised to tread very cautiously when workers have been laid off within six months prior to filing a labor certification on behalf of a foreign national employee.

    Originally published by The Insightful Immigration Blog, reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Cyrus D Mehta Cyrus D. Mehta,as an immigrant himself, Cyrus was interested in immigration law long before becoming an immigration lawyer. After receiving his Bachelor's Degree from St. Xavier's College, Bombay University, he moved to the United Kingdom to attend Cambridge University and later to New York to receive his LLM from Columbia Law School. In late October 1993, he founded Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, PLLC, where he has a diverse practice, not only handling business immigration matters, but also individuals in deportation and removal proceedings, family matters, and naturalization cases.From 1997 to 1998, Cyrus was the Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Young Lawyers Division, winning the Joseph Minsky Young Lawyers Award in 1997 for outstanding contributions in the immigration field. In addition to managing his law firm, Cyrus has a passion for public service. He was the Chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the New York City Bar Association from 2000 to 20003, which was a very interesting experience after the 9/11 attacks. He was also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council from 2004-06 where he addressed immigration policy concerns and impact litigation issues for the bar. He is the past Chair of AILA's Pro Bono Committee and former Co-Chair of the AILA-NY Chapter Pro Bono Committee. Cyrus continues to be active in coordinating pro bono projects and received AILA's 2010 President's Commendation for Leadership of AILA's Pro Bono efforts. In 2011, he received AILA's Michael Maggio Memorial Award for his outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

      Posting comments is disabled.

    Categories

    Collapse

    article_tags

    Collapse

    There are no tags yet.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • Birthright Citizenship Is Not A Legal Assumption; It's the Law by Kristie De Pena
      ImmigrationDaily

      08-21-2018, 03:12 PM
    • Blogging: Trump's "National Security" Abuses: First, Muslim Ban; Next, Security Clearance Revocation.. By Roger Algase
      ImmigrationDaily
      Trump's "National Security" Abuses: First, Muslim Ban; Next, Security Clearance Revocation. Trashing Immigrant Rights Endangers Freedom of All Americans.

      CNN reports on August 21 that 175 former US officials have denounced Donald Trump for revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan for speaking out in opposition to Trump.

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/20/polit...ent/index.html

      Presidential use of "national security"
      ...
      08-21-2018, 12:54 PM
    • Article: The EB-5 Immigration Program and the Investors Process By H. Ronald Klasko
      ImmigrationDaily

      If you are having difficulty viewing this document please click here.

      08-20-2018, 08:15 AM
    • Article: Immigration Judges’ Union Fights for Judicial Independence By Karolina Walters
      ImmigrationDaily
      Immigration Judges’ Union Fights for Judicial Independence by Karolina Walters The National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), the union that represents the nation’s immigration judges, is challenging the government’s decision to remove an immigration judge from a well-known case and replace him with a judge who immediately ordered the immigrant in the case deported. NAIJ’s grievance addresses the treatment of one immigration judge, but its resolution will have implications for judicial independence throughout the entire immigration court system. The grievance was filed on behalf of Philadelphia-based immigration judge Steven A. Morley, who was presiding over the case of Mr. Reynaldo Castro-Tum. Castro-Tum’s case rose to national importance earlier this year when Attorney General Jeff Sessions chose to refer the case to himself to reconsider the Board of Immigration Appeals’ previous decision in the case. In reconsidering the decision, Sessions effectively eliminated judges’ use of administrative closure, a docket management tool. Sessions sent Castro-Tum’s case back to Judge Morley, noting that the immigration court order Castro-Tum removed if he did not appear at his next hearing. Castro-Tum did not appear at the next hearing. However, Judge Morley continued the case to resolve whether Castro-Tum received adequate notice of the hearing. Due process requires, at a minimum, that an individual be given notice of proceedings and an opportunity to be heard by a judge. But before the next hearing could take place, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) replaced Judge Morley with an Assistant Chief Immigration Judge who ordered Castro-Tum removed when he did not appear at court again. In their grievance, NAIJ asserts that the decision to remove Judge Morley from Castro-Tum’s case and reassign many other cases from his docket resulted in unacceptable interference with judicial independence. The grievance specifically claims that EOIR’s actions violate immigration judges’ authority under the regulations to exerci...
      08-17-2018, 11:12 AM
    • Article: Indirect Refoulement: Why the US Cannot Create a Safe Third Country Agreement with Mexico By Sophia Genovese
      ImmigrationDaily
      Indirect Refoulement: Why the US Cannot Create a Safe Third Country Agreement with Mexico by Sophia Genovese The Trump Administration is seeking to create and implement a safe third country agreement with Mexico . Under this agreement, asylum seekers arriving at the US border who have travelled through Mexico would be denied the ability to file their asylum claims in the US. Such an agreement would trample on the rights of asylum-seekers, violating both international and US asylum law. In particular, the US would be violating the international principle of non-refoulement , which provides that no State “shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his [or her] life or freedom would be threatened,” where Mexico has a proven track record of being anything but safe for asylum seekers . The US has also codified Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention into Section 208(a)(2)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which provides that it will not return an asylum seeker to his or her country of origin, but may, at the determination of the Attorney General, remove the asylum seeker to a “safe third country… where the [asylum seeker] would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection.” Although Mexican officials have not yet indicated whether they would sign a safe third country agreement with the US, asylum advocates should proactively seek to prevent such a devastating policy with a country that lacks adequate asylum protections. As reported by Human Rights First and Amnesty International , 75 percent of asylum seekers apprehended and detained by the National Institute of Migration (INM), the Mexican immigration enforcement agency, were not informed of their right to seek asylum. Even if asylum seekers are able to make their claims, only 30% of the asylum proceedings are ever concluded , and even fewer are granted, leaving many bona fide asylum seekers stranded without a resolution. The treatment of unaccompanied minors’ asylum claims in Mexico are even more dismal. Of the 35,000 minors apprehended by the INM in the first half of 2016, only 138 were able to apply for asylum , of which only 77 were granted protection. Beyond the failing asylum system in Mexico, asylum seekers are also in extreme danger of kidnapping, murder, rape, trafficking, and other crimes by INM officers and civilians. A safe third country agreement with Mexico would violate the United States’ international obligations under the 1967 Optional Protocol to the Refugee Convention, to which we are a signatory, which adopts by incorporation the obligations outlined in the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which the US is not a signatory. Take the example of an asylum-seeker, Mrs. H, who is fleeing politically-motivated violence in Honduras. Her husband, Mr. H, was a vocal political activist who opposed the National Party and members of the Honduran government. Mr. H began to receive death threats due to his political beliefs and reported such threats to the authorities. The authorities, however, di...
      08-16-2018, 02:32 PM
    • Article: Flawed Statistics Undermine USCIS/ICE/SEVP’s Restriction of D/S for Unlawful Presence By Eugene Goldstein, Esq.
      ImmigrationDaily

      Flawed Statistics Undermine USCIS/ICE/SEVP’s Restriction of D/S for Unlawful Presence

      by


      On August 9, 2018 USCIS published a “Policy Memorandum” restricting the 20-year-old calculation of Duration of Status (D/S) for F-1, J-1 and M-1 entrants (and their derivative families). https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/...immigrants.pdf

      USCIS also published an announcement (hereinafter “announcement”) “USCIS Issues Revised Guidance on Unlawful Presence for Students and Exchange Visitors https://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-iss...hange-visitors , and a general discussion “Unlawful Presence and Bars to Admissibility” ...

      08-15-2018, 12:57 PM
    Working...
    X