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Home > Targeted Services & Programs > Hiring Assistance > Foreign Labor Certification Program

Foreign Labor Certification Program

Hiring Foreign Workers

Employers seeking to bring foreign workers into the United States must receive certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Foreign Labor Certification. This certification may only be obtained in cases where it can be demonstrated that there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers available and willing to perform the work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Protecting U.S. Workers

Foreign labor certification programs permit U.S. employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary or permanent basis to fill jobs essential to the U.S. economy. The programs are designed to assure that admission of foreign workers will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

Employer Compliance

A potential employer of foreign workers must be aware that in filing for a foreign labor certification, they are obligated to comply with all employment-related laws and regulations.

Hiring Foreign Workers through Maine's Job Bank

In accordance with the laws regulating the hiring of foreign workers, the Maine Department of Labor, Alien Certification Unit, acts as an agent for the U.S. Department of Labor. Staff of this unit:

  • Conduct pre-occupancy inspections of migrant housing
  • Coordinate the referral of workers to H-2A job orders in Maine's Job Bank

Employers seeking to hire workers through this program are able to use Maine's Job Bank, but may have to follow a special process:

  • H-2B employers set up an account in Maine's Job Bank and post their own job orders
  • H-2A employers will have their account verified by Maine's Job Bank staff, and their job orders will be posted with staff assistance

Questions regarding the posting of these job orders can be directed to: joborders@maine.gov.

The Certification Process

Detailed information on the Foreign Labor Certification process can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Foreign Labor Certification website. There are a some recent changes that should be noted by employers:

  • Effective 1/18/09, employers are no longer required to send H-2B applications to Maine Department of Labor (MDOL). H-2B applications sent to MDOL after this effective date will be returned to the employer. H-2B applications are only processed by the U.S. DOL Chicago National Processing Center.
  • Effective 3/15/10, employers are required to commence pre-filing recruitment by submitting ETA form 790 as a job order intended for a future H-2A labor certification application. The employer must submit the job order no more than 75 calendar days and no fewer than 60 calendar days before the start date of need.

Questions regarding the certification process should be directed to the U.S. DOL Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) at the following email addresses: