Office of International Affairs International Student & Scholar Services

Labor Certification Procedures for Teaching Faculty

It is possible for the University to obtain permanent residency for a teaching faculty member under the labor certification process.  This is essentially a determination and certification by the U.S. Department of Labor that there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, or equally qualified to do the work needed, and that the employment of foreign nationals will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed workers in the U.S.

We can obtain labor certification for a prospective teaching faculty member if we can demonstrate that the faculty member is better qualified than any U.S. citizen or permanent resident applicant for the position. The position must be advertised, prevailing wages and working conditions must be offered, and qualified U.S. workers must be given an opportunity to know about and to apply for the position. The application for labor certification for a teaching faculty member must be filed within 18 months of the selection of the alien ”pursuant to a competitive recruitment and selection process."

Permanent Residence (a Green Card) through Labor Certification will involve 3 steps:

  1. Application for labor certification for the teaching faculty member only if they are chosen as the best qualified, available candidate after an academic search process and selection for a permanent tenure-track position.
  2. Upon certification, the University will file a form I-140 for an immigrant visa to be made available to the international hire (the beneficiary).
  3. Once the I-140 is approved, the international hire will file for a green card on form I-485. This step can be done concurrently with step 2 -- please consult ISSS on the pros and cons of concurrent filing.


Departments must submit documentation of their recruitment efforts. Advertisements must include the following:

At least one of the advertisements must be in a national PRINT professional journal.  An online or web advertisement will NOT fulfill this requirement, it must be in print.


When the selection process has been completed, an academic department or college should submit to International Student and Scholar Services the following documents:

  1. A written statement signed by the department chair or dean "outlining in detail the complete recruitment procedure" and providing the following specific information:
    1. "the total number of applicants for the job opportunity";
    2. "the specific lawful job-related reasons why the alien is more qualified than each U.S. worker who applied for the job".
  2. A final report from the faculty, student, and/or administrative body making the recommendation or selection of the faculty member, at the completion of the competitive recruitment and selection process.
  3. A copy of at least one advertisement for the job opportunity placed in a national PRINT professional journal, giving the name and the date(s) of publication, and which states the job title, duties and requirements.  This should be a photocopy of the page from the journal and a photocopy of the cover of that issue to identify the journal and the issue.
  4. Information about and documentation of any other recruitment efforts undertaken, including copies of letters sent to other institutions or professional colleagues, postings on electronic bulletin boards, or any other attempts to locate suitable applicants for the position. We must demonstrate that the University has made a good faith effort to locate qualified U.S. workers for the position, so documentation of all recruitment efforts is important.  Be sure that the same advertisement is placed in every venue.
  5. A written statement from the department chair or dean attesting to the degree of the faculty member’s educational or professional qualifications and academic achievements.
  6. A copy of the offer letter from the University to the prospective faculty member.
  7. A copy of the Labor Certification Notice.  This notice must be posted in a conspicuous place in the hiring department for ten consecutive business days. ISSS will supply this form, properly completed, to the appropriate department for posting. The notice will also be placed in the Office of International Affairs and the Personnel office.  If any in-house media was used to advertise the position, the notice must also be placed for 10 consecutive business days in the same in-house media, whether electronic or paper.

Once we have all the documentation, we will submit an application for labor certification to the U.S. Department of Labor's Certifying Officer. The Certifying Officer makes the decision and notifies us.

Procedures Following Labor Certification
Once the U.S. Department of Labor has approved the application for labor certification, the University can petition the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the faculty member. This is done by filing a Form I-140 with the approved labor certification, appropriate supporting documentation and a check for $580 made payable to the "Department of Homeland Security" . This part of the process is called a “second preference petition.” The word "second" refers to the organizational scheme of the Immigration and Nationality Act; it is not a lesser kind of green card. All green cards are the same, all confer the same benefits. Only the paths to those green cards are different.

We reiterate the caution to scholars and departments that the scholar must have been awarded his or her degree (if it is a requirement for the position) before the University can file the I-140. The University often hires individuals who have completed all the requirements for their Ph.D. degree except for submission of their dissertation. The completion of the dissertation is sometimes shuffled to the back of the scholar's priorities during his or her first year of teaching or research. Time passes and the degree isn't awarded as promptly as everyone might have wished. While the department may allow the scholar some leeway in this regard, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is not so open-minded.

Questions regarding the Labor Certification process should be directed to the International Faculty Counselor at the Office of International Affairs at 742-2974.

Revised: 11/01/2010