Supply Chain Labor, LLC helps employers fill positions for which they cannot find enough workers in the domestic labor force. We match overseas jobseekers with employers in a wide range of industries. While this can work for any type of job, most of our clients have historically been in the Transportation, Warehousing, Logistics and Manufacturing Labor needs. This is a super low-cost solution that is also highly scalable, providing a steady stream of qualified candidates to employers who need them.
We have extensive network of interested candidates around the world who want to move to the United States, and will be ecstatic to be offered jobs that will let them do this through the business immigration system. They are prepared to commit to employers long-term and will show up on time each day. Employers may set whatever job-related parameters they need, such as willingness to work certain shifts, and we will refer only people who fit them.
When U.S. employers cannot find enough U.S. workers who are ready, willing, qualified, and available, they may hire overseas workers to fill those positions. There are two sides to the process – first, with the U.S. Department of Labor to show a lack of available domestic labor and then later candidates will undergo immigration processing, which includes a background check in their home country. Once those are complete, they can arrive and begin work. As you might imagine, all of these things take some time, but we can offer a nearly endless supply of interested candidates, so we are ready to provide as many referrals as you think you can absorb comfortably over the course of several months.
We mainly work with employers in industries that face chronic staffing shortages. Examples of industries and roles I have with in the past are: building services companies seeking janitors; hotels seeking housekeepers; maid services seeking cleaners; various businesses seeking drivers; shipping facilities seeking order pickers and packers; and, home health care providers seeking caregivers, among others.
There are three government agencies involved in the process – the Department of Labor (“DOL”), U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and the Department of State (“DOS”). The majority of the process takes place in the DOL. We begin by filing a request for a Prevailing Wage Determination (“PWD”), where the DOL uses its data to establish appropriate wage levels for the position based on various factors. Either with the PWD in hand or while it is pending, we begin a process called “Recruitment.” This is a test of the domestic labor market to establish where the employer places three advertisements to show there are not enough U.S. workers available to fill the positions. The employer may then request the ability to hire the overseas candidate(s) – called a “Labor Certification” (or “LC”) – to fill these positions. You may hire multiple workers based upon a single round of recruitment if you have the capacity to hire them; for example, the largest user of this program nationally that we have seen is a large chicken company that hires hundreds of people each year to staff its processing facilities.
These are just the steps of the process, though – not action items an employer must handle internally. We have systems in place to handle all of this for employer clients and make it as effortless as possible on their side.
There is not a fixed maximum number of employees an employer may hire based on one round of recruitment – whatever the employer can comfortably absorb and afford to pay once they arrive.
You do. While we have a vast network of candidates we can refer or introduce to you and is more than happy to help in setting up Zoom or Face Time interviews, the ultimately hiring decisions are the employer’s alone and it is not something we meddle into.
Whatever parameters an employer may set for its U.S. workforce and are reasonably connected to the job duties, we can set on the overseas candidates. For some jobs, this may be willingness to work certain shifts or take on overtime. For others, it may be physical abilities or, in the case of many production environments where safety is a concern, English language skills. We work with employers in several industries, so people also self-select and orient themselves towards what is a stronger fit for their skills and capabilities. For example, someone who has been a stay-at-home mom for several years may wait to apply until she sees a vacancy with a home health care employer whereas a young, single man may be looking for a place with a food production company that offers more physical work, but the ability to make good money through overtime. Plus, the employer can interview everyone to assess fit as mentioned above. For all these reasons, we are confident the candidates an employer ultimately selects will be great fits.
The law requires the employer pay all costs associated with obtaining the Labor Certification. For unskilled positions, the two costs are the cost of a newspaper advertisement and any legal fees. The cost of a newspaper ad varies by location and, of course, amount of text. In general, this can be expected to be: $1,500 to $2,000 in the largest few cities (NYC/SF); about $1,000 in major markets (DC/Seattle); $600 in secondary/tertiary markets (Savannah, GA/Huntsville, AL); and, $250-300 in rural areas or very small cities. We are also required by DOL regulations to charge something for filing the LC, but this is quite low (and we can delay invoicing it until after the candidates are in place). The first application in one round of hiring is a little complicated, but subsequent ones are quite easy because all the employer’s information remains the same.
For the later immigration-related stages in the process, the candidates we refer are willing to pay the costs for the immigration and visa processes that either party may cover (by law, they cannot cover the DOL-related costs, but everything else can be paid by either party).
Subject to a waiting period during which responses are collected, we then file the LC applications through the DOL’s online portal. We will work with you create an employer account to do this – either with a screenshot tutorial, sitting on the phone with you while you do it, or via some sort of remote help session where we can both see the screen. Once that is complete, I am assigned a “sub-account” where I can file applications, but other functionality is restricted (I cannot change the worksite address, for example). In all cases, you will always know what I am doing. I will keep you updated, but also the DOL system sends you CC copies of everything, notifies you when I put in an application, and requires you to click 4 “yes” boxes in a short survey before each application is placed in the queue (this takes about 20 seconds per application).
It is assigned to a person called a Certifying Officer, where one of two things happens: it is approved or it is selected for a secondary review called an “Audit.” This is not anything like an IRS audit. It is just a boilerplate request where we must provide documents to show the employer did recruitment properly, which they review and then certify (approve) the LC.
We first file a petition to USCIS asking them to confirm the worker is eligible for what is called an immigrant visa. For the employer, this part is easy – all we need is some signed forms and documents and possibly some financial information (all kept strictly confidential and not shown to the candidates) to show the company has the ability to pay the workers. After that is approved, the DOS does a background check on the applicants to make sure they are who they say they are, they do not have any prior history like crimes or immigration violations, and that they are not a risk to U.S. health or safety.
Longer than anyone would like and probably longer than it should take, since the purpose of the program is to help U.S. businesses that face staffing troubles. Realistically, the answer is hopefully around a year. If we are diligent about maintaining a solid timeline, probably 10-13 months before someone who is outside the U.S. can start. If we go at a slower pace, perhaps a year and half. If someone is in the U.S. in a temporary, but legal, immigration status, they will be faster.
We understand this timeline renders the process untenable for employers in many industries – especially for younger businesses, a year may as well be a decade. We wish it were faster, but between ordinarily somewhat slow processing and COVID-19, this is what we are stuck with.
We want employers to have a reasonable estimate of the timeline before workers can begin arriving so they can assess whether this program makes any business sense for them. Being realistic, we should plan on about one year before anyone can arrive.
Employers cannot use this program to adversely impact wages of U.S. workers in similar positions, so incoming workers must be paid the greater of the Prevailing Wage determined by the Department of Labor or the employer’s customary wage for employees in that particular role (and skill level, if applicable). For example, if no skills or experience are required for a position at which the employer customarily pays $12.00 per hour and the PWD comes back at $11.55, the employer still must offer the foreign worker the wage of $12.00 per hour.
It may not. This program is available to any U.S. employer, but is used almost entirely by either employers needing to fill positions that are either quite high-skill or are less skilled ones where nearly anyone can be trained. If your business is able to regularly hire and retain employees, then you do not need this program. However, for a business struggling with staffing for one reason or another, we can provide a steady stream of candidates that will serve as a useful compliment to your normal hiring processes.
The positions must be permanent, full-time ones with no fixed end date. You may employ them as long as you like and as long as business conditions allow for it. Both sides must enter into that arrangement in good faith.
Employers can file LC’s on behalf of workers from anywhere, but there are some practical considerations here as well. In reality, people from comparable quality-of-life countries are less interested in uprooting themselves and migrating to the U.S. because they are happy where they are. Thus, we have few workers from Western Europe, for example, interested in this program. On the other hand, moving to the U.S. is a fairly costly endeavor, so we also do not see workers coming from truly developing and evolving nations either. Most of the workers we see who are interested in this program are middle-class individuals in countries with growing economies. In our experience, these have been: Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam as the largest, as well as candidates from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Japan, Brazil, the Gulf Region and Western Africa.
It is not feasible to hire from China or India due to limits on the overall number of visas available to any single country. For high population countries, this results in a waiting queue of people with approved cases who cannot be awarded visas (and thus cannot come and begin working). The added wait is over 10 years for these countries, so we do not refer candidates from there unless directed to by an employer.
Like anyone, the prospective employees have multiple objectives. On one hand, they want to work and do a good job. However, they also are interested in settling in (or remaining in) the U.S. Quite simply, the quality-of-life here is better than it is in the countries from which they are moving. There are better public education options for their children, increased access to healthcare, and a panoply of other comparative advantages offered by living in the U.S. The desire to stay here long-term from the workers also works in the employer’s favor, because they know they must follow program rules (and keep their jobs) in order for this to actually work. This provides assurance for employers that our candidates are committed to doing the jobs for which they are hired.
In addition, we find a number of interested employees who have already left their birth country and are working on temporary visas in Gulf Region countries. In the last 20 years, places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, and others in the Gulf Region have developed quickly. One of the ways they did this is by importing a variety of workers from other places – construction workers and truckers from southeast Asia and nurses from Philippines, for example. Those workers are on now on renewable visas, but two things are happening: first, they face uncertainty because they do not have a permanent, stable solution and, second, several of these countries (Saudi Arabia most prominently) are cutting the number of foreign workers they will allow to remain in attempts to curtail domestic unemployment. Thus, right now, there is considerable interest in finding a long-term immigration solution for temporary workers in the Gulf Region and the Supplychain/EB-3 program represent a “win-win” solution for them and the U.S. employer.
The DOS does a significant background check on all workers and their families as part of the visa process. This involves running their name and information against the equivalent of the FBI’s database in their home country and every country in which they have lived since age 16. They are required to provide clearances from police or federal agencies and certify they have not done anything that would make them inadmissible under U.S. immigration laws. But, of course, employers are free to put them through the processes all other employees go through as well.
The way the U.S. immigration system is set up requires pretty much anyone who wants to immigrate have a connection or tie to the U.S., which is called a “sponsor.” That tie might be a family member, or it could be an employer. In employment cases, “sponsor” just means the employer is offering a job and needs to pay them what is detailed in SupplyChain application. There are NOT additional financial requirements on the employer, such as paying for travel or housing, which exist in some other visa types.
In most cases, yes. Many employers have one or more current employees in Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) or seeking asylum in the U.S. Those people have valid work authorization, but may lack a pathway to remain in the U.S. in the longer term. In many cases, the employer can file for an LC for them and stay working while the applications are pending. However, we MUST be careful in these cases, especially with TPS employees, and determine how and when they arrived to the U.S. before proceeding with any applications because there may be complications or restrictions. Please bring any such matter to our attention promptly for further review.
We like to compare this process to driving a car. If you closely follow the rules, obey the speed limit, and so on, there is little risk of difficulty or inconvenience.
We will work closely with you to make sure everything here is done in perfect compliance with the law. However, we will discuss a few examples of how this process could go off track. If we file a Supplychain for someone and the DOL believes we did not adequately test the domestic labor market in good faith, they can require an employer to undergo “supervised recruitment” where you have to do another round of ads and basically the DOL collects responses and ensure the employer contacts them. Later on, either randomly or for a specific reason, they may conduct a site visit and check in with the employer to make sure everything in the process is legitimate.
We will never let any of these things happen in your case. These inconveniences or penalties are clearly avoidable with simple diligence and planning. We do not intend to let any of these ever happen to employer clients (except, I suppose, that a random site visit may theoretically be possible). I have been practicing in this area of law for several years and I have never had any of these things happen to an EB-3 employer client of mine.