Immigrant visas are granted to certain foreign workers who are professionals with degrees, skilled workers with two years of experience, and other workers with less than two years of experience who fulfill two basic criteria. The first is that the intended employment will not have an adverse effect on U.S. workers already employed, and the second is that it has been shown that there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified. This process of determination is known as 'Labor Certification.' In most cases, labor certification requires that the job opportunity has been listed with a state employment service, posted at the place of employment, and advertised in a newspaper or trade journal with general circulation. The employer must accept applications for the job and document a good faith effort to recruit a U.S. worker for the position. If it's established that there are not any U.S. workers who are able, willing, and qualified, the labor certification is then granted. Many college and university positions can be processed under provisions that only require you to be the best qualified applicant. Recently, the Department of Labor has allowed pre-recruitment to take place prior to submission of the application with the State Employment Service. This procedure is known as 'Reduction in Recruitment.' A common misconception is that an approved labor certification authorizes the individual to stay in the United States and work. Only the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Department has the authority to grant employment. The U.S. Department of Labor, which issues the labor certification, cannot grant employment. Labor certification is only the first step toward permanent residence. Actual immigrant visas, commonly called 'green cards,' are limited to a certain number per year by Congress. For more information, contact an attorney qualified in this area of the law.