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:

Temporary Programs List
Program Description
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 .

Important Notice:

On April 29, 2015, the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security jointly published new regulations governing the H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Labor Certification Program. The new regulations are effective immediately.

  • The Department of Labor's news release discussing the two regulations may be accessed here .
  • The 2015 Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment of H-2B Aliens in the United States, Interim Final Rule is available here .
  • The 2015 Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-Agricultural employment H-2B Program, Final Rule is available 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.

Department of Labor Regulations Part 20 CFR 656

To find the regulations which were in use prior to March 25, 2005, Click here .

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