The foriegn labor application gateway (flag) system

Learn about OCIO's IT modernization initiative for temporary work visas!

OCIO identified a business need to modernize a 10-year-old legacy IT system used by the Office of Foreign Labor Certification to issue temporary labor certifications. The Department of Labor is the first step in the temporary work visa process and the newly modernized system – Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) – helps U.S. employers find qualified workers while also ensuring protections for U.S. and foreign workers. Completing the system modernization in 2019 ahead of the pandemic, allowed the Department of Labor to continue mission work in support of temporary employment opportunities without interruption.

Temporary labor applications are certified by the Department of Labor for agricultural (farming, horticultural), non-agricultural (construction, landscaping, etc.) and specialty occupation (biotechnology, healthcare, etc.) positions in the United States. The FLAG system provides a single, easy way to access information about the Office of Foreign Labor Certification temporary labor certification process. More than 1.1 million temporary labor certifications have been issued since the new system was deployed in 2019.

The cloud-based system intakes employers' applications for certification, and then issues a digital boarding pass to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS then shares the digital boarding pass with the State Department to review and issue the temporary work visa to the employer. The entire process is coordinated seamlessly behind-the-scenes through one easy-to-use portal.

FLAG roadmap

Since deploying FLAG, OCIO implemented a datahub for federal, cross-agency information-sharing on the temporary work visa certification process. The datahub, enabled through Technology Modernization Funding, expanded access to the digital certification process for USDA’s website. Currently, OCIO is working on providing additional access to visa enforcement agencies within the Department of Labor such as the Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

FLAG Timeline:

FLAG roadmap

Benefits for America’s Employers and Temporary Workers:

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Enhanced User Experience

  • Delivers a simple-to-use and convenient website portal for employers and workers, which is also mobile-friendly
  • Allows employers and workers to easily search and generate reports on the status of applications so they can track progress in real-time


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Improved Efficiencies

  • Processes applications faster and saves the Department of Labor $2 million a year by eliminating the need for printing and mailing between offices
  • Minimizes risk of temporary work visa fraud through real-time, cross-agency data analysis
  • Saves time and minimizes deficiency letters sent for incomplete information by flagging errors on applications earlier in the process
  • Populates available job openings automatically on so workers can easily identify job opportunities


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Real-time Communications

  • Provides real-time insights on the status of applications and available job opportunities by sharing data and records across the Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the State Department and the Department of Agriculture (USDA)


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