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Home Link Foreign Labor Certification Policies and Regulations

The Department of Labor through the Employment and Training Administration, Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s national office and two processing centers, in cooperation with the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs), administer various Foreign Labor Certification programs. Administration of the programs is mandated by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and delineated by regulations in each program published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs). The regulations provide guidance on the processing of applications, periods of validity, and employer responsibilities, etc. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification also provides further guidance through various directives and advisories such as Training and Employment Guidance Letters, General Administration Letters, and others. The applicable regulations and advisories are outlined below.

Directives/Advisories - An online library of Directives


The INA directs the Secretary of Labor to certify that there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified and available and the employment of an alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed. The regulations of the Department of Labor delineate the specific rules to be followed for each program, which requires labor certification from the Secretary of Labor.


Temporary Programs

These regulations explain the procedures employers need to follow to obtain a labor certification to employ aliens in temporary position in the United States. Some of the more popular programs include:

H-2A Temporary agricultural workers
H-2B Temporary non-agricultural
H-1B Temporary workers in the professions, specialty occupations & fashion models
D-1 Longshore work


Department of Labor Regulations Part 20 CFR 655 and the 2008 H-2B Final Rule.

On March 14, 2014, the Department of Labor published a Notification in the Federal Register to provide notice to the regulated community of the status of the Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-agricultural Employment H-2B Program, published January 19, 2011, (2011 Wage Rule) in the Federal Register. To read the Notice, please click here.


PERM Program Guidance Bulletin on the Clarification of Scope of Consideration Rule in 20 CFR 656.10(b)(2). (click here)

Permanent Program

These regulations explain the labor certification process for permanent employment of aliens in the United States. These regulations were completely replaced on March 25, 2005. To find the regulations which were in use prior to March 25, 2005, Click here.

Department of Labor Regulations Part 20 CFR 656


Policy Directives and Advisories

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification occasionally issues policy directives to help employees of the Department of Labor and SWAs, and also Employers who wish to employ alien labor, understand the procedures for filing and adjudicating applications for labor certification when the regulations are not definitive. These directives are issued by the Department and are updated periodically. The links below will take you to the most current policy directive for each program.


Current Directives/Advisories:

For Historical Documents see Directives/Advisories - An online library of Directives