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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

The ABCs of Immigration - Special Handling Labor Certifications
by Greg Siskind and Amy Ballentine

This type of labor certification is used for professors at colleges and universities, and for aliens of exceptional ability in the performing arts. It differs from ordinary labor certifications in that the alien worker is shown to be more qualified than any US worker who applied for the position, and in the way the application is processed by the state and federal labor departments. The process for professors and performing artists is by and large the same, although there are some important differences.

The purpose of a traditional labor certification, whether filed as an application for reduction in recruitment or with state supervised advertising, is to satisfy the Department of Labor that there are no qualified US workers available. The fact that the foreign national might be better qualified cannot be used as a reason to not offer the job to the US worker. In a special handling labor certification, the employer is not required to offer the job to a US worker who is not as qualified as the foreign national.

For college and university teachers, the school must conduct a competitive recruitment for the position offered to the alien. The school demonstrates that it meets this requirement by submitting the following to the Department of Labor:

  • A statement from the employer, signed by a hiring official, outlining the recruitment procedure, the number of applicants for the position, the specific reason the alien was better qualified than each applicant, and the final report of the selection committee of the school;
  • A copy of at least one advertisement for the position run in a national professional journal; Evidence of other recruitment;
  • A statement of the alienís educational and professional qualifications and achievements; and Evidence that notice of the open position was posted at the work location The labor certification must be filed within 18 months after recruitment for the position begins.

    A special handling labor certification for an alien with exceptional ability in the performing arts must demonstrate both recruitment efforts and that the alien possesses exceptional ability. This is show by submission of the following:

    • A copy of at least one advertisement for the position placed in a suitable national publication, along with a detailed report on the results;
    • Evidence that unions traditionally used for recruiting in the performing arts were contacted and unable to provide any worker as qualified as the alien;
    • Evidence of the alienís exceptional ability, such as published material about him or her, playbills, the reputation of organizations that previously employed the alien, the alienís ability to command a high salary, etc.
    The evidence should come from the past year, although older evidence can be used to demonstrate exceptional ability. Unlike other labor certifications, which, after processing at the state level are sent to a regional office of the US Department of Labor, special handling applications for performing artists are sent to the national Labor Department office.


    About The Author

    Gregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.

    After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Gregory Siskind went on to receive his law degree from the University of Chicago. For the past several years, he has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and he currently serves as a member of the organization's Technology Committee. He is the current committee chair for the Nashville Bar Association's International Section. Greg is a member of the American Bar Association where he serves on the LPM PublishGregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.

    Greg regularly writes on the subject of immigration law. He has written several hundred articles on the subject and is also the author of the new book The J Visa Guidebook, published by Matthew Bender and Company, one of the nation's leading legal publishers. He is working on another book for Matthew Bender on entertainment and sports immigration.

    Greg is also, in many ways, a pioneer in the use of the Internet in the legal profession. He was one of the first lawyers in the country (and the very first immigration lawyer) to set up a web site for his practice. And he was the first attorney in the world to distribute a firm newsletter via e-mail listserv. Mr. Siskind is the author of the American Bar Association's best selling book, The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. He has been interviewed and profiled in a number of leading publications and media including USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Lawyers Weekly, the ABA Journal, the National Law Journal, American Lawyer, Law Practice Management Magazine, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the Washington Post. As one of the leading experts in the country on the use of the Internet in a legal practice, Greg speaks regularly at forums across the United States, Canada and Europe.

    In his personal life, Greg is the husband of Audrey Siskind and the proud father of Eden Shoshana and Lily Jordana. He also enjoys collecting rare newspapers and running in marathons and triathlons. He can be reached by email at GSiskind@visalaw.com

    Amy Ballentine is an associate in Siskind, Susser & Haas's Memphis, Tennessee office. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Rhodes College in 1994. While in law school at the University of Memphis she was a member of the law review staff as well as a published author. She also worked with the local public defenderís office in death penalty cases. In May 1999, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Memphis Law School. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached by email at aballentine@visalaw.com


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