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Labor Certification for Teaching Positions

A labor certification is a finding by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that (1) there are no qualified U.S. workers in the geographic area of employment who are able, willing, and available to do the job in question and (2) the employment of a foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Special provisions (also known as "special handling") for college and university teachers streamline the labor certification process. These provisions allow UH to satisfy the labor certification recruitment requirements by submitting documentation of its own competitive recruitment process instead of engaging in the highly structured recruitment procedures normally required in “standard” labor certification cases. A benefit of these special provisions is that the employer may select the best qualified applicant even if minimally qualified U.S. workers applied for the position.

The minimum labor certification requirements for teaching positions include:

  • Full-time teaching position involving classroom instruction.
  • Permanent position (i.e. tenured, tenure-track, or for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration in which the employee would have the expectation of continued employment; there is no specified employment end date and is not seasonal or intermittent.)
  • A competitive, national search was conducted, as evidenced by the placement of:
    • A print ad in a national professional journal (e.g. Chronicle of Higher Education or a journal in the specific field) OR
    • An electronic ad posted on the website of a national professional journal (e.g. Chronicle of Higher Education or a journal in the specific field) for at least 30 calendar days on the journal's website. Documentation clearly showing the start and end dates of the ad's posting must be provided - see EB-2/EB-3 Teaching Request Form.
  • Job advertisements are identical in job title, requirements, and duties so that all applicants are offered the same wages, working conditions, and opportunity.
    • Ads cannot state a salary that is lower than the prevailing wage or the amount offered to the employee.
    • Ads cannot include the word "temporary" in the posting.
  • Job ads do not include unduly restrictive requirements that cannot be justified by business necessity. Examples of unduly restrictive job requirements include but are not limited to:
    • Requiring proficiency in a language other than English (except for language teachers)
    • Requiring a college degree where a technical degree/OTJ training was previously required by the employer or industry
    • Combining jobs into one that is normally performed by more than one worker
    • Requiring knowledge/skills which cannot be obtained in the U.S.
    • Tailoring job requirements to ensure selection of a particular person
  • Documentation of each ad contains the following elements:

    • Print sources: Publication name and date
    • Web sources: URL, print date, and posting date (adjust print settings in your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox) in "Page Setup" if necessary)
  • Employee possessed all minimum and desirable qualifications before he/she was offered the position.
    • Required educational degree must have been conferred before the offer date unless “ABD” or “degree by [date]” or other qualifying language is included in the ad.
    • If experience is required in the ad, employee must have the requisite # of months/years of experience at full-time employment. (E.g. If an ad minimally requires 1 year of teaching experience and the employee’s only previous teaching position lasted 1 year at 20 hours/week, he/she does not meet the minimum qualifications.)
  • The employee was more qualified than the other U.S. workers (i.e. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain immigrants with work authorization) applying for the position.
    • Unless it is stated otherwise in an application, assume all applicants are U.S. workers.
    • The best practice is to recruit only one rank at a time (e.g. Assistant Professor only). If more than one rank must be recruited in the same ad, then the department must have a very clear way of distinguishing who's applying for which rank(s). Do not conclude that someone who is currently a Full Professor elsewhere wouldn't accept an Assistant Professor position at UH unless he/she explicitly states this in his/her application. If an applicant doesn't specify the rank(s) for which he/she is applying, then presume he/she would accept an offer at any rank, even a lower one.
  • The labor certification application can be filed no later than 18 months after the offer letter date or Form 17 date (whichever date is earlier).
  • Bona fide job opportunity – position actually exists, is open, and is not based on self-employment.
  • Position is not vacant or at issue due to a strike or labor dispute involving a work stoppage.

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EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees

EB-3 Professionals