Employment-Based Green Cards
An American business that desires to fill a job vacancy with a foreign worker can use the immigration laws and procedures to qualify the foreign worker for an immigrant visa.The foreign worker might already be working for the American business with a temporary nonimmigrant work visa such as the H, L, J, F, or E visas, or the foreign worker might be a long-time employee that the company’s management wants to help obtain resident status.
The immigration laws provide for several employment-based immigrant visa classifications. Most of the classifications, but not all, have built-in protections for American labor. Employment-based immigration generally requires either a strong showing that the foreign worker is one of the best in the field or that there are no qualified United States workers available to fill the position.
Employment-Based Green Card Categories
A lawful permanent resident (LPR) is a foreign national who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. If you want to become an immigrant based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, the foreign national must fall into one of the five categories below.
There are five categories for granting permanent residence to foreign nationals based on employment skills.
EB-1 Priority Workers
- Foreign nationals who, in the three years preceding the filing of an immigrant petition, have been employed for at least one year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity and who seeks to enter the United States to continue to render services to the same employer, or to a subsidiary or affiliate, in a capacity that is managerial or executive;
- Foreign nationals that are outstanding professors or researchers, with at least three years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area, who are recognized internationally as outstanding; and
- Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education business, or athletics demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, whose achievements have been recognized in the field.
EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability
Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business who will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States may qualify for the EB-2 immigrant category.
Qualified foreign national physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved may also qualify for the EB-2 immigrant category.
EB-3 Professional, Skilled and Other Workers
An EB-3 Professional Worker is a member of the professions with a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent who is coming to provide services for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
An EB-3 Skilled Worker is a foreign national with at least two years of specialized training or experience in a particular skill who is coming to perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
An EB-3 Other Worker is a foreign national with less than two years experience, such as an unskilled worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
EB-4 Religious Workers
To qualify as an EB-4 special immigrant religious worker, you must be a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States. You must have been a member of this religious denomination for at least two years before applying for admission to the United States. You must be entering the United States to work:
- As a minister or priest of the religious denomination;
- In a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization (a professional capacity means that a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent is required to do this job); or
- In a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization or its nonprofit affiliate. (A religious vocation means a calling or devotion to religious life. Taking vows can prove that you have a calling to religious life. A religious occupation is an activity devoted to traditional religious functions. Examples of religious occupations include (but are not limited to) cantors, missionaries, and religious instructors.)
Permanent resident status based on EB-5 eligibility is available to investors, either alone or coming with their spouse and unmarried children. Eligible foreign nationals are those who have invested — or are actively in the process of investing — the required amount of capital into a new commercial enterprise that they have established. They must further demonstrate that this investment will benefit the United States economy and create the requisite number of full-time jobs for qualified persons within the United States.
Please click here for our special section on EB-5 Investors for more information.