Labor Certification/PERM

In employment-based immigration, “Labor Certification” by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a prerequisite to the filing of a visa petition in either the Second or Third employment preference categories. Before issuing the certification, the DOL must find that that there are no qualified U.S. workers that are available in the area where the job is being offered, and that the employment of the foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. An employer seeking labor certification will be required to test the labor market and conduct recruitment through a state employment service.

Diversity Visa Lottery Program

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants”. A maximum of up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) are available each fiscal year (i.e. October-September) to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulated that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This reduction has resulted in the DV-2008 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.

Diversity visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year. The program chooses from among foreign nationals who meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements, based on a computer-generated random lottery drawing.