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Question: My Company was petitioning in an employee for the Labor Certification. We have waited years for this employee to come and work for us. However, last month he told us that he was no longer interested in the job. We feel somewhat betrayed as we waited all this time for his Labor Certification to go through. It has been certified by the Department of Labor and we do not now have an employee for the position. Must we completely start over?

Answer: Actually, it is not necessary that you start all over with another future employee. As you know, the Labor Certification is a procedure whereby a person can be petitioned by an employer for future employment. For those that cannot be petitioned through a family member, this is often the best way to eventually get a Green Card or Lawful Permanent Residency. However, as I am sure you have discovered, the employer and the employee have to cooperate for several years for the eventual success of the Labor Certification.

Now that you have an approved Labor Certification for your company, normally you would file the Employment Petition and then the Adjustment of Status application or the Consulate Processing application if the person is outside the U.S. However, since your future employee is no longer wanting or willing to go through with the rest of the procedure, you would normally have to start over the entire process from the beginning.

However, there is an exception. If you can find another future employee who has the same basic qualifications and will work in the same position, then you can substitute in this employee.

Question: What exactly do you mean to ‘substitute’ in the new employee?

Answer: This term is exactly what it refers to. Without starting from the beginning, another person can just jump into the shoes of the previous employee (who no longer wants to continue) and start from where he left off. This means, you do not need to do another Labor Certification, nor do you need to wait all those years to continue. You simply continue forward with the new employee.

Question: This sounds too good to be true. Why would the law allow this?

Answer: It is because the Labor Certification itself does not really have anything to specifically do with the employee. The Labor Certification process merely shows that there are no qualified workers to fill the position. Therefore, when the job has been certified by the Department of Labor, it means that there has been successful proof that that particular job cannot be filled. Thus, if you find another person seeking to work for you to fill the position with the same qualifications, he or she can now just continue. This is a very useful, but not very well known provision that permits you to do this. If you do everything correctly, you should have a new employee working for you in a very short time.

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Can I Substitute in another employee?