Common Reasons for Denial of Labor Certification (for Employment-Based Green Cards)


Labor certification is the most crucial part of employment-based immigration. It is widely known as “Labor Cert.” According to the United States immigration laws, you have to conduct a job market test before you get a labor certification. Moreover, the employer needs to prove that they can pay standard wages. 

The immigration law explains the things you need to do to get a labor certification. However, if you fail to meet the criteria, you will receive a denial of labor certification. 

In this blog, we have gathered a few of the common reasons for the denial of labor certification. 

Not Meeting the Recruitment Test

To obtain a labor certification, the most time-consuming step is the market test. As per the law, you have to run various campaigns through which employers usually hire an employee. The advertising process must be conducted no more than 180 days before filing for the labor certification. Moreover, it should be completed 30 days before the filing. If you don’t meet the 30-day and 180-day deadlines, you will certainly have a refusal. 

The market test demands an advertisement in two Sunday newspapers that are circulated in your area. Secondly, you need to advertise for 30 days via the local State Workforce Agency. In addition, you need to use three other ways of recruitment for professional jobs including employee referral programs, job fairs, job search websites, and 

If you miss any advertising method or fail to maintain the record of your advertisement, you can get a denial. Posting unclear advertisements or any efforts that hide the job availability also results in a denial. 

Improper Job Description 

According to immigration law, an employer must mention the duties, educational requirements, skill requirements, and experiential requirements clearly. Here it is important to mention that an employer can’t set requirements too high to discourage local workers to apply for the job. Moreover, they can’t adjust the job requirements according to the sponsored individual credentials. 

In addition, the law states that job requirements must be reasonable to fulfill the responsibilities. The factor often results in denial of the labor certification. Hence, it is important to write duties carefully and set reasonable requirements. Consider the regular hiring process and standard practices in your industry and stick to them. 

Fail to Prove that Employer Can Pay Standard Wages

While hiring a foreign individual, the employer must be able to pay the standard existing wages. They need to provide proof that they have the financial resources to pay their job dues. The law protects foreign workers from exploitation and ensures that existing wages don’t go down. 

What do standard wages mean? Consider it the average wage paid to existing workers in comparable positions. The U.S Department of Labor consistently gathers wage information through various sources. Hence, employers can’t play around with wages. If they want to get a foreign national, they need to prove they can afford their services. When an employer fails to show their financial resources, it results in a denial of Labor Certification. 

Job Layoffs and Availability 

When an employer terminates an employee or more, they can’t sponsor a foreign worker for the same position. Firstly, they need to take a few steps to prove they need a foreign worker. Employers must review the skills of previous workers and restore them if possible. 

If you don’t want to offer the position to terminated workers, you have to wait for at least six months to come out of the restricted period. 

Fail to Respond to the Email Questionnaire 

After submitting the ETA 9089 form, the Department of Labor may send you a few questions. If the employer fails to respond to these questions, it is highly likely to get a denial. Employers have to answer these emails within 7 days. Occasionally, employers consider these emails as spam and don’t answer them which is the wrong practice. If you get a questionnaire from an official email, always answer it. 

The Bottom Line

While applying for the labor certification, employers need to meet various conditions. Many times employers are not familiar with the law which is the root cause of the denial. Hiring a reputable attorney is the best option to avoid this situation. 

If you want to apply yourself, make sure that read the law carefully before making a move. Once you meet the conditions, you can move forward with your application for the Labor Certification. 

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