Applying for a visa to work in the United States requires multiple steps from the initial application to the background check and possibly even a medical examination. The potential visa recipient will need to make every effort to demonstrate that they would be an asset to the United States and that they are capable of fulfilling the obligations for which the company wants to employ them within the U.S.

Some companies view international hiring as a means of avoiding the higher wage demands of American workers. Concerns about this exact abuse of work visas and its potential to undermine the earnings of skilled or educated American workers are exactly why some employment visa applicants will need a labor certification.

What is a labor certification?

If the company that currently employs you or that has extended an offer of employment wants to successfully bring you into the United States to perform a job, they become your sponsor. Depending on how they intend to classify you and what kind of visa they want to seek on your behalf, they may need to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor.

This certification documents the availability of professionals with certain experience or education within the domestic United States workforce. In a situation where demand for certain professionals outpaces domestic supply or availability, it could lead to an artificial inflation of expected wages and result in harsh competition among businesses for domestic hires.

A labor certification confirms that there are not enough workers already in the United States to reasonably allow the business to fill the position at the prevailing wage within the industry. The Department of Labor must also verify that hiring foreign talent won’t impact wages or career opportunities for domestic workers.

When do you need to secure a labor certification?

Only sponsors seeking visas under the Second Preference EB-2 and Third Preference EB-3 visas will need labor certifications. There are some exceptions to that requirement for certain EB-2 applicants.

The EB-2 visa applies to highly educated professionals or skilled individuals in the arts, sciences or business. The EB-1 visa can help skilled workers, professionals and even unskilled laborers accept work in the United States.

Instead of letting fear about the difficulties of the process hold you back, it might be time to learn more about a potential work visa application if you seriously want to work in the United States.