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Significance & Processing Details of H1B LCA
January 24, 2022
5 mins
A line of seated men filling the USCIS forms mounted on writing pads, with the information from the passport. The processing fee amount is tucked in the writing pad.

Everything You Need to Know About H1B Worker Visa

The craze for working in the US always remains fresh in young minds. With every passing day, more and more people apply for work permits through H1B visas. Can you believe that in the last eight years or so, more than double the number of applications has reached USCIS? This proves how popular the H1B non-immigrant visa is.

Though the H1B visa process is strenuous, LCA (Labor Condition Application) is crucial. Hence, this application requires more attention while filing to gain a work permit. In this article, we discuss all the steps involved in LCA submission and processing.

Before going into the details, it is important to take a look at a comprehensive guide on prevailing wage.

Terms & Conditions While Filing H1B

An H1B visa will permit an individual to work full-time or part-time for various employers simultaneously. Many desire it because of the flexibility it offers. However, the filing has to be done with utmost care to get it processed easily.

Filing process at the USCIS:

  • Implements an annual cap to visas issued every year
  • Determines which petition goes to processing through a random lottery

It does not mean that the randomly selected applications will be approved. It is best to have all the columns filled properly. Let us see how and when to file for an H1B visa.

Every year, the first business day of April has great value in the lives of workers aspiring to get an H1B visa. Any petitions filed before this allotted date will be rejected. The filing window remains open for seven days from the first business day of April. If 80,000 petitions are collected, the filing window closes. In that case, you will have to wait until next year to file the petition.

All petitions will not be subject to the cap. If you want to file an H1B petition, you should:

  • Know the entire details of your case before filing an I-129 petition
  • Hire an attorney to handle the filing properly

LCA from the employer is essential before filing a petition. The government necessarily requires this to safeguard the job and working conditions of the employees. This demonstrates the importance of LCA and its role in the entire H1B visa process.

What is LCA? What Are the Four Attestations Required?

LCA is a mandatory application to be submitted by the US company or employer while hiring a foreign worker for an H1B visa. Only after the LCA is certified by the DOL (Department of Labor) the petition filing can happen. Wonder why LCA is so important? It contains information about:

  • Job's nature
  • Area code
  • Position title
  • SOC code
  • Wage level, etc.

H1B LCA is compulsory for any visa petition filing with USCIS. However, there are a few circumstances when you file a new LCA:

  • Hiring a new worker
  • Renewing the existing employment
  • Transferring the job to a new employer

Four Attestations of the LCA

An LCA's motive is to protect anyone working for an employer in the United States. There are four mandatory attestations to be made by the employer. They are:

1. Attestation stating that the worker will be paid more than prevailing and actual wage.

  • The actual wage is what other employees in the same job get from the company.
  • Prevailing wage depends on its geographic location. The Department of Labor determines it.

2. Attestation stating that the hiring will not negatively impact the current working conditions. The employer must ensure that the working conditions are similar to other employees currently in the same role.

3. Attestation stating that there is no cessation of work in effect while filing LCA. Doing so will prevent a company from replacing workers on strike with an H1B worker.

4. Attestation stating that the current employees are aware of the hiring and that everything is transparent.

Step-wise Guide on Ways to Apply for H1B LCA

Step 1: Determine Prevailing Wage Rates

There is a particular clause by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which states that, hiring a foreign worker must:

  • Not cause any impact on the U.S. worker's wages and working conditions.
  • Provide a relevant prevailing wage that abides by the special occupational skills required for the role.

Employers must follow the local labor laws to meet the state's minimum wage rates and working conditions. Now, what are the sources through which an employer can determine the prevailing wage?

  • Foreign Labor Certification Data Center
  • Legitimate source of wages

The first source has an entire list of H1B wages based on Wage Statistics and Occupational Employment. An employer can use any source mentioned above or even gain a reference from any source of the prevailing wage while filing LCA.

Step 2: Filing H1B LCA to the Department of Labor

Once the LCA is filed, employers must submit it to the Department of Labor. The modes of filing are:

  • LCA ETA – 9035 (Physical application)
  • TA – 9035E (electronic submission)

The most preferred mode is an online submission, as the filing and processing are fast. However, you need a FLAG Online system (previously using the iCERT system) to file H1B LCA electronically.

Step 3: H1B LCA Processing Time & Status Details

As the submission process occurs electronically, the FLAG system provides access to help you understand how the LCA is processing. As per standard norms, DOL takes around a week to process LCA. If it does not get approval, it will come back with missing information or clerical issues in the submitted LCA.

Ways to decode an H1B LCA status after processing:

  • Certified: The DOL has certified it. Hence, it can be used for filing an H1B petition with the USCIS.
  • Certified – Withdrawn: The DOL has certified it. But, it cannot be filed for an H1B petition as the employer has withdrawn the LCA.
  • Withdrawn: The employer withdrew the LCA before DOL could arrive at a decision.
  • Denied: The DOL has denied the H1B LCA. Hence, it cannot be used to file an H1B petition. This happens when the LCA fails to meet the necessary requirements.

DOL provides reasons for denial so that necessary changes can be done while refiling. You can always refile a denied LCA in the next H1B filing window. But, the significance of obtaining LCA before the filing window opens is what makes its mark here.

Also read: A Brief Overview of LCA Requirements & Fees

The Bottom-line

LCA is the first step in applying for an H1B visa. As discussed, it is critical to ensure the employees' safety in the US. You can always seek expert help to fill the columns properly without any errors.  TechFetch H1B gives you all the information on the entire H1B visa processing procedures. Stop by for more details.

**Disclaimer : All US immigration policies and procedures are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for more information.**

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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