Employment-based Green Cards:
There are a limited number of green cards available each year to foreign nationals who possess the skills needed to fill the employment gaps and/or needs of US employers.
There are five (5) types of preference categories for employment-based green cards (also known as an “employment-based permanent residence”):
- EB-1: Priority Workers
- EB-2: Workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability
- EB-3: Skilled, professionals or other workers
- EB-4: Religious workers and various miscellaneous categories of workers and other individuals; also called special immigrants.
- EB-5: Individual investors willing to invest a certain amount of money in a U.S. business
Unless you qualify for the EB-1 category, you must meet the following requirements to qualify for an employment-based green card:
- Have a full-time job or job offer from a U.S. employer;
- Possess the necessary educational and skills backgrounds; and
- Have a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor your green card, which can often be a tedious and expensive process.
A. The first preference category, EB-1: Priority Workers, are divided into three (3) subcategories:
- Aliens with extraordinary ability in the “sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation” INA § (b)(1)(A).
- Outstanding University Professors or Researchers who are internationally recognized in their particular field with at least three (3) years of either teaching or research experience in that field. Professors need to be tenured or on the tenure-track at the university.
- Certain Executives and/or Managers of Multinational Companies who have been employed by a qualified company outside the U.S. for a certain period of time and are either transferred or being transferred to the U.S.
B. The second preference category, EB-2: Workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability is for:
- Professionals holding advanced degrees (e.g., graduate level degrees or professional degrees requiring postgraduate education, such as law or medicine) or their equivalent, or
- Aliens of exceptional ability “who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, an d whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States.” INA § (b)(2)(A).
If you do not hold an advanced degree but have a bachelor’s degree followed by at least five (5) years of work experience in a professional position either here in the US or abroad, then you may qualify for the EB-2 category because your work experience may be considered equivalent to the advanced degree.
C. The third preference category, EB-3: Skilled, professionals or other workers, include:
- Skilled workers,
- Professional workers, and
- Unskilled workers without advanced degrees.
INA § (b)(3) defines the three (3) categories as follows:
- A skilled worker is someone who is “capable, at the time of petitioning of this classification, of performing skilled labor (requiring at least 2 years of training or experience)”. Examples of skilled workers include chefs, graphic designers and journalists.
- A professional worker is a “qualified immigrant who holds baccalaureate degrees and who are members of the professions.” Examples of professional workers include accountants, pharmacists, and fashion designers.
- An unskilled worker is someone who is “capable, at the time of petitioning for classification under this paragraph, of performing unskilled labor, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.” Examples of an unskilled worker include nannies, housekeepers, and farm workers.
All three (3) categories require labor certifications and draw green cards from the same annual allotment. Unskilled workers, however, are allocated the fewest number of green cards than the other two subcategories within the EB-3.
A labor certification is basically an official recognition by the U.S. Department of Labor that there are no able, willing, qualified and available U.S. workers for the position offered. Employers must provide proof of this through a recruitment campaign, which should include advertisements in newspapers, the Internet, and employment agencies. All labor certifications must be filed under the Program Electronic Review Management (“PERM”) regulations.
D. The fourth preference category, EB-4: Certain Special Immigrants, which includes religious workers and various miscellaneous categories of workers and individuals. Religious workers include ministers and religious professionals. Examples of other individuals included in this category are former U.S. government workers and children dependent on the U.S. foster care system.
E. The fifth preference category, EB-5: Employment Creation, is available for investors who are willing to invest a minimum of $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a new U.S. business that will create jobs.
If you do not fit into any of the employment-based green card categories, then you may be able to qualify for an employment-based visa. In the meantime, for more information about any one of the employment-based green card preference categories, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.