The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) yesterday published its final rule regarding labor certification substitutions. In the final rule, DOL discussed a range of issues, including labor substitutions, expirations of labor certifications and payments for labor certifications.
At the core of the regulation is the official prohibition of substituting beneficiaries in labor certification cases. On or after July 16, 2007, these substitutions will no longer be allowed (all submitted substitutions prior to that date will not be affected by this rule).
In addition, the rule sets a 180 day validation period for labor certifications. If no I-140 is submitted within 180 days of a labor certification approval, that certification will expire. Please note that for all labor certifications approved before July 16, 2007, the I-140 petition will need to be filed within 180 days of July 16, 2007.
Finally, the new rule bans the sale, barter or purchasing of labor certifications. Based on DOL information, employers can not ask for or accept payments of any kind for any activity related to labor certification approval. This includes the cost of attorney fees. While individuals may seek their own legal representation, the labor certification is considered the duty of the employer.
Again, please note that these regulations will not become law until July 16, 2007.