Special Handling Labor Certifications

College and university teachers are accorded special treatment and handling under the current immigration laws. Special handling labor certifications permit the university to establish that it
selected the foreign national after a competitive recruitment and selection process, and that the
foreign national was the “most qualified” for the position. This standard differs from the “minimally 
qualified” standard applied in regular labor certification applications. Therefore, the university does
not need to establish that the individual was the only qualified applicant for the position, just that
the individual was the “most qualified,” which is normally a much easier standard to satisfy. The 
application must be filed with the Department of Labor within 18 months of the individual’s selection
and the position must involve some classroom teaching. Labor certifications filed under the special 
handling provisions must be supported by the following documentation:

  • A copy of an advertisement from a national professional journal
  • Evidence of other recruitment sources utilized
  • Evidence that a notice of the position was posted in a conspicuous location
for 10 business days
  • Evidence that a notice of the position was posted in any available and
appropriate “in-house” media
  • A statement by the university outlining the selective and competitive recruitment
procedure, attesting to the foreign national’s credentials, and explaining why the
individual was more qualified than any of the other applicants.

Special handling labor certifications are filed using the PERM system. However, as explained above, different standards apply to applications filed under the special handling regulations, and thus, the Department of Labor maintains that these applications are reviewed by specially
trained personnel. The Department of Labor asserts that it will certify labor certifications within
45 to 60 days unless selected for an audit.


Information Needed to Begin Processing Special Handling Labor Certification at LMH

  • From the University
  1. Copy of the underlying H-1B or other non-immigrant petition approval notice
  2. Copy of prevailing wage determination used in H-1B application (if applicable)
  3. Letter from Department Chair or Search Committee Chair to the Dean recommending
selection of the scholar being sponsored for the labor certification
  4. Offer letter to scholar from Dean/Provost selecting the scholar for the position
  5. A description of the duties associated with the position filled by the scholar
  6. Requirements for the position (including education and experience)
  7. Copies of print ads from national trade journals
  8. Evidence of any other recruitment conducted during search
  9. Copy of any available Search Plan for the position
  10. Information about the recruitment process
  11. Information about the candidates for the position

  • From the Scholar Being Sponsored for a Labor Certification
  1. A current curriculum vitae for the position listing all post-secondary education
and all previous positions
  2. Copy of any and all educational degrees or diplomas with the scholar’s field listed.
  3. Information about the classroom teaching associated with the position

Once LMH has been retained for a special handling labor certification, LMH contacts all parties to furnish specific information related to the above list. After the scholar and the university have provided the appropriate documentation, LMH will prepare the Special Handling PERM application for filing and the supporting documents for the university to retain on-site in the event of an audit.  LMH requires both the scholar and the university to sign the PERM application before filing to ensure all information contained therein is correct and accurate. Additionally, once the DOL certifies the application, the certified application must be signed by the appropriate university official as well as the sponsored scholar.

Copyright © 2009 Law Offices of Melissa Harms All rights reserved.

The above discussion is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an
attorney-client relationship. Individuals should visit a licensed attorney to evaluate the legal circumstances surrounding their
situation and to receive appropriate legal advice.