Though forced to do so by a ruling from the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finally put another toe into the 21st century.

The Labor Certification process is the first step in the employment-based permanent residency process.  It is the process by which the employer must test the market to determine whether there are qualified willing U.S. workers for the sponsored job position.  When sponsoring a college or university teacher, the college or university may advertise the job position in a national professional journal.  Historically, the Department of Labor mandated that the journal advertisements be in print format.  The print mandate has caused growing frustration for colleges and universities as many journals are now published electronically and those that continue to publish in print form charge significantly more for print ads than electronic ads. 

BALCA ruled on July 20, 2011 that use of an electronic advertisement in a national professional journal meets the regulatory requirements.  Following the BALCA ruling, the DOL issued an FAQ on point confirming that an electronic ad in a national professional journal is acceptable.  The DOL revised the FAQ on July 28, 2011 to read as follows: 

Question: Is the employer permitted to use an electronic or web-based national professional journal instead of a print journal when conducting recruitment under the Department of Labor (Department) regulations at 20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 656.18, Optional special recruitment and documentation procedures for college and university teachers?

Answer: Yes, an employer may use an electronic or web-based national professional journal to satisfy the regulatory provision at 20 CFR § 656.18(b)(3), which requires use of a national professional journal for advertisements for college or university teachers. The advertisement for the job opportunity for which certification is sought must be posted for at least 30 calendar days on the journal’s website. Documentation of the placement of an advertisement in an electronic or web-based national professional journal must include evidence of the start and end dates of the advertisement placement and the text of the advertisement.

This change[1] will save colleges and universities significant money on recruitment and has the potential to actually reach far more candidates than the print ads.  Both sides should rejoice the change; but I fear the DOL fails to see the win-win in the situation.  To all colleges and universities I say:  rejoice!

[1] I note that this change only impacts special handing cases for college and university teachers.  Advertisements for all other job positions must continue to comply with the DOL regulations applicable to those positions.