Employment Based Immigration
People from around the world view the United States as a country where higher pay and upward socio-economic mobility can improve their quality of life and potential to achieve, whether in agricultural work, technology, healthcare, or other jobs and professions. Employment based immigration can be either as a permanent immigrant, temporary worker, or through an investment in a US company. In addition to immigration law, employment based immigration requires knowledge of corporate law and labor & employment law. Depending on the education level and work experience of the applicant several visa options may be available. Balancing all these aspects while at the same time choosing the best path for your American dream requires an expert immigration attorney.
Whether you are a US company wishing to hire foreign nationals or an individual investing in the US, our attorneys can assist you, ensuring that no detail is overlooked, every filing deadline is met, and all required documentation is included in your application.
Temporary Work Visas
Various types of work visas are available to those who have been offered US employment:
- O visas are for those who have some extraordinary level of professional expertise or ability.
- P visas apply to entertainers, athletes, artists.
- L visas allow employees of multinational corporations to transfer from abroad. This visa can lead to Lawful Permanent Residency in the EB-1 category.
- H-1B visas allow US companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations in fields such as technology, engineering, medicine, science, and mathematics. This visa can lead to Lawful Permanent Residency in a variety of employment based categories.
- H-2A visas allow foreign nationals to enter the US to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.
- J-1 visas are for high level academics and researchers.
- R-1 visas are available to ministers and other religious workers being sponsored by a not-for-profit corporation or tax – exempt religious organization.
- TN visas are available exclusively to Canadian and Mexican citizens coming to work in the US as professionals in certain professions.
- E visas are nonimmigrant visas for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains economic treaties. They can be for investors or employees depending upon the nationality of the applicant.
Lawful Permanent Residency
Employees and investors can also obtain lawful permanent residency through one of five employment based categories:
- EB-1 visa for priority workers. This category is for individuals of extraordinary ability, renowned professors and researchers, and international executives and managers. This is the fastest and most preferred method of gaining Lawful Permanent Residency through employment, because it does not involve the labor certification process and in some circumstances individuals can even apply without an employer. An employer sponsor is required for professors, researchers, executives, and managers, but not for those with extraordinary abilities. Those with extraordinary abilities must only prove their international acclaim and that they will continue their work in the United States.
- EB-2 visa for professionals and those with exceptional abilities. Second-preference employment-based visas are designed for those with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees, as well as those that qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). This visa requires labor certification from the Department of Labor and an employer sponsor, unless you can prove your work benefits the National Interest.
- EB-3 visa for skilled, professional, or other workers. Third preference employment-based work visas are for skilled workers, professional workers, or other workers who do not fit into any of the above categories. All three types of workers must obtain approval from the Department of Labor and all must prove that their employment will not take jobs away from American workers.
- EB-4 visa for special immigrants. Fourth preference employment-based work visas are for religious workers, broadcasters, physicians, members of the military, translators, international organization employees, employees of the United States government abroad, or retired NATO-6 workers. Some of these special immigrants must have an employer sponsor while other special immigrants can petition for a visa by themselves.
- EB-5 visa for investors. Fifth-preference employment-based visas are for those who have either $500,000 or $1 million to invest in a business or project in the United States. To qualify for the reduced $500,000 investment one must choose a project in a rural or economically depressed area. The investment must create ten or more new jobs in the business within two years of the the I-526 being approved. The money invested in the venture can be borrowed, so long as the loan is not secured by the assets of the business.
Each of the employment based Lawful Permanent Residency categories are limited by an annual quota system based on the date the original application is filed, the “priority date.” Filing the petition secures a priority date for the applicant. Once the priority date becomes current according to the Department of State visa bulletin the applicant can complete the process of becoming a permanent resident. This can happen immediately or after many years.