Employment-Based Immigration

Employment-Based Immigration

Employment-based immigration is one of the more complex areas of immigration law, and it is best to use an experienced attorney in a matter involving employment-based immigration to help guide you through the process. Immigration Attorney Karla De La Rosa-King is experienced in Employment-based Immigration and can assist you in this process.

Each fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), the U.S. government makes a certain number of employment-based immigrant visas available to qualified applicants under the applicable provisions that govern U.S. immigration law. Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. Spouses and children under 21 years of age may accompany or “follow-to-join” the employment-based immigrant that they have a relationship with.

Employment-Based Immigration Categories

There are five different employer-based immigration categories. As employer-based immigration is a complex area, we encourage you to speak with an experienced attorney like Attorney Karla De La Rosa-King, who can provide additional guidance and assist you in this process.

First Preference: EB-1 Visas for Priority Workers

EB-1 visas are issued to the following three types of individuals:

  • Individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics. These individuals must have documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their areas of expertise. They do not have to have specific job offers or labor certification, as long as they are entering the U.S. to continue working in the fields in which they have an extraordinary ability.
  • Individuals who are outstanding professors and researchers and have at least three years’ experience in teaching or research in that academic area, and are also recognized internationally. These individuals must be coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher learning. These individuals must provide an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer, but no labor certification is required.
  • Individuals who are multinational managers or executives and have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The U.S. petitioner, who must have been doing business in the U.S. for at least one year, as a legal entity, with a qualifying relationship to the entity that employed you abroad, must intend to employ you in a managerial or executive capacity. No labor certification is required.

Second Preference: E.B.- 2 Visas for Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability

  • Professionals who have an advanced degree or its equivalent. An advanced degree is a university degree (such as a master’s or doctor’s degree) higher than a bachelor’s degree.  The equivalent of an advanced degree is a baccalaureate degree and at least five years of progressive experience in the profession. The applicant needs to undergo the labor certification process and meet all the requirements specified on it.
  • Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability is defined as having a degree of expertise significantly above the level that is ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. The applicant must meet the requirements specified on the labor certification.
  • National Interest Waivers are granted to individuals who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the country. These applicants may self-petition, and they do not need an employer to sponsor them.

Third Preference: EB-3 Visas for Skilled Workers, Professionals, or Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)

EB-3 visas are issued to skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.

  • Skilled workers are applicants whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years of training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
  • Professionals are members of a profession whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college, or an equivalent foreign degree.
  • Other workers are individuals who perform jobs that require less than two years of training, education, or experience and are not temporary or seasonal.

Under the EB3 category, the applicant must have a permanent, full-time job offer, and he/she must undergo the labor certification process.

Schedule A – Group I Occupations

Schedule A is a list of occupations for which the U.S. Department of Labor has determined that there is an insufficient number of U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available.  The Schedule A – Group I occupations are:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Physical Therapists

The Advantage of Schedule A is that the foreign worker can obtain his/her Lawful Permanent Resident status without having to undergo the labor certification process.

Registered Nurses applying under Schedule A need to have one of the following:

  • An unrestricted permanent license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment, or
  • A CGFNS certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, or
  • Evidence that the alien has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Physical Therapists applying under Schedule A need to have one of the following:

  • A permanent license to practice in the state of intended employment, or
  • A letter or statement, signed by an authorized state physical therapy licensing official in the state of intended employment, stating that the beneficiary is qualified to take that state’s written licensing examination for physical therapists.

Fourth Preference: EB-4 Visas for Certain Special Immigrants

The following special immigrants are eligible under the EB-4 preference visa:

  • Religious Workers
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles
  • Broadcasters
  • G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and Their Family Members
  • International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad
  • Armed Forces Members
  • Panama Canal Zone Employees
  • Certain Physicians
  • Afghan and Iraqi Translators
  • Afghan and Iraqi Nationals Who Have Provided Faith Service in Support of U.S. Operations

No labor certification is required for applicants under the EB-4 category.

Fifth Preference: EB-5 Visas for Immigrant Investors

EB-5 visas were established to create U.S. jobs by attracting foreign investment to the United States, and they allow certain foreign investors to become permanent residents. To obtain an EB-5 visa, the applicant must invest at least 1.8 million, or $900,000 (if the investment is in a high unemployment or rural area), in a commercial enterprise that will employ at least 10 full-time employees.

Foreign investors can also choose to invest in pre-approved Regional Centers. A Regional Center is defined as “any economic entity, public or private, which is involved in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.”

The applicants under the EB-5 category do not need to undergo the labor certification process.