Employment Based Immigrant Visas
Certain individuals may be eligible to obtain permanent residence (“green card” in the United States based upon prospective employment. In that regard, U.S. immigration law divides prospective employment petitions into employment “preference” categories that are distinguished by the type of employment and the training and experience possessed by the proposed alien employee.
The first preference category (“EB1”) is for qualifying aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers. The second preference category (“EB2”) is for members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and qualifying aliens with exceptional ability. The third preference category (“EB3”) is for qualifying workers capable of performing skilled labor requiring at least 2 years qualified training or experience, professionals who hold baccalaureate degrees, and other qualified unskilled laborers. The fourth preference category (EB4”) is for certain special immigrants including religious workers. The fifth preference category (“EB5”) is for certain qualifying investors who create employment in the United States.
Most, but not all, of the preference categories require that the proposed alien employee be sponsored by an actual U.S. employer who is offering the alien a job that requires the alien’s skill. Most aliens in the second and third preferences are required to go through the PERM “labor certification” process wherein the sponsoring employer of the alien must demonstrate through a process of recruiting U.S. workers that no minimally qualified U.S. workers are available to perform the job at the prevailing wage. Certain aliens in the second preference whose immigration is in the “national interest” may avoid the PERM labor certification process.