The number of persons who can obtain a green card through employment under US immigration law is 140,000 per year. This includes the employee and his/her immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21). Persons born in a particular country cannot use more than 7% of the quota in each of the 5 employment-based (EB) categories. This has led to long backlogs in the EB categories for persons born in India, mainland China and the Philippines.
In general, before an EB-2 or EB-3 preference petition on behalf of a prospective immigrant can be submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), an employer must obtain the approval of a PERM application issued by the US Department of Labor. This is a determination that no minimally-qualified US workers are ready, willing and able to fill the job, and that the employment of an immigrant will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US workers.
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Green Card Through Employment is divided into the following sub-topics:
- Success Stories
- EB-1 Priority Workers
- EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
- EB-3 Professionals, Skilled and Unskilled Workers
- EB-4 Special Immigrants and Religious Workers
- EB-5 Investors
- Green Card Through Employment: General Resources
- Green Card Through Employment: Additional Resources
- Practice Advisories on Green Card Through Employment
- Options for an Extraordinary Employee (June 2016)
- Saving a Client from an EB-5 Denial (October 2015)
- Overturning the Denial of a PERM Application (April 2014)
- Winning an I-140 Appeal (August 2013)
- Overcoming the Denial of an I-140 Petition (June 2013)
- Saving a Client’s Job (March 2013)
- Registered Nurse Upgrades from EB-2 to EB-3 (January 2013)
- Representing Clients in Various Cities Across the U.S. (July 2011)
- Helping a Person Qualify for a National Interest Waiver (June 2010)
- Helping a Physician Achieve Permanent Residence (April 2010)
- Green Card for a Person of Extraordinary Ability (February 2010)
- Helping a Client Qualify as an EB-1 Outstanding Researcher (December 2009)
- Erroneous I-140 Denial is Overturned (May 2009)
- Saving a Science Superstar from Deportation (February 2009)
- Establishing That a Job Offer is Permanent (June 2008)
- Saving a Nurse From Being Deported (April 2008)
- Helping a Nurse Remain in the U.S. (July 2007)
- Helping an Immigrant Overcome Attorney Error (January 2007)
- Saving a Scientist’s NIW from Revocation (September 2006)
- A Hardship Waiver for a Physician (April 2006)
- Repairing a Broken Immigration Case (March 2006)
- Registered Nurse: “It Never Hurts to Ask” (November 2005)
- Researcher and Systems Engineer: “What a Difference a Day Made” (October 2005)
- Professional Athlete – “Curveball: The Immigration Officer Who Knew Too Much” (May 2005)
- Employment-Based Immigration: Cancer Research Center (March 2005)
- Physician/Researcher: “Who is Extraordinary?” (February 2005)
- Employment-Based Immigration: 100 Registered Nurses (January 2005)
- Engineers and Nurses (November 2004)
- Physician: Exceptional Hardship – Mexican Immigrant: Alternate Chargeability (October 2004)
- Artist Wins Right to Stay in US
Videos – Green Card Through Employment
- How to Obtain a Green Card Through Employment – Immigration Attorney Carl Shusterman (former INS Attorney, 1976-82) explains the EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 and EB-4 preference categories and how to obtain permanent residence through each of these categories.
- Green Cards Through Employment: An Overview – Immigration Attorney Carl Shusterman (Former INS Attorney 1976-82) gives an overview concerning employment-based immigration to the United States.
- Employment-Based Green Cards: An Overview – Attorney Carl Shusterman (Former INS Attorney 1976-82) explains employment-based visa categories: EB-1 (priority workers), EB-2 (advanced degrees), EB-3 (professionals, skilled and unskilled workers), EB-4 (religious workers, et al), EB-5 (investors).
- Visa Bulletin: Employment-Based Categories – Attorney Carl Shusterman (Former INS Attorney 1976-82) explains the movement of the employment-based priority dates on the monthly State Department Visa Bulletin.
EB-1 Priority Workers
(28.6% of the worldwide level of visas, or approximately 40,000 visas PLUS unused special immigrant and investor visas, if any)
Priority workers include (A) persons of extraordinary ability, (B) outstanding professors and researchers, and (C) certain executives and managers of multinational corporations.
A person’s extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics must be demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and his achievements must have been recognized in his field through extensive documentation. He must be entering the US to continue work in his area of extraordinary ability, and his entry must substantially benefit prospectively the US.
To qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher, a person must (1) be recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area; (2) have at least three years of teaching or research in the academic area; and (3) seek to enter the US for (a) a tenured or tenure-track position within a university or other institute of higher education to teach in the academic area; (b) a comparable position with a university or other institute of higher education to conduct research in the area; or (c) a comparable position to conduct research in an area with a department, division, or institute or a private employer, if the department, division, or institute employs at least three persons full-time in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.
A multinational executive or manager must have been employed abroad as such during at least one of the three years preceding his application for priority worker classification and admission into the US as a priority worker. He must be entering the US to be employed as an executive or manager for the same firm, corporation or legal entity (or to a subsidiary or affiliate thereof) that employed him abroad.
EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
(28.6% of the worldwide level of visas, or approximately 40,000 visas PLUS unused visas from priority worker category, if any)
These visas are reserved for qualified immigrants who are (1) members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent, or (2) those who are of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. It is required that such immigrants will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests of the U.S. and that their services are sought by an employer in the US.
In determining whether a person is of exceptional ability, the possession of a degree or license does not, by itself, constitute sufficient evidence of such ability.
Unlike a priority worker, a person may immigrate to the US under this category only after his employer has obtained a PERM labor certification for his job. The employer must demonstrate that the minimum educational requirement for the job is an advanced degree. A person holding a bachelor’s degree and five years of professional experience may be considered to possess the equivalent of an advanced degree.
However, where it is deemed to be in the national interest, the USCIS may waive the requirements of a job offer and a PERM labor certification.
EB-3 Professionals, Skilled and Unskilled Workers
(28.6% of the worldwide level of visas, or approximately 40,000 visas PLUS unused visas from the two preceding categories, if any)
A person is a qualified professional under this category if he holds a baccalaureate degree or equivalent experience and is a member of the professions.
A skilled worker is a person capable of performing an occupation which requires at least 2 years of training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the US.
Other workers are those who are capable of performing unskilled labor, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the US.
Skilled workers, professionals and other workers may immigrate to the US only after their employers obtain PERM labor certifications for their jobs. Unskilled workers are limited to no more than 10,000 visas per year under this category. This limitation has resulted in increased waiting times for housekeepers and other unskilled workers.
For more information, please see EB-3 Green Cards.
EB-4 Special Immigrants and Religious Workers
(7.1% of the worldwide level of visas, or approximately 10,000 visas)
This category includes religious workers, special immigrant juveniles (SIJs) and a variety of other special immigrants..
(7.1% of the worldwide level of visas, or approximately 10,000 visas)
Persons who invest a certain of money in a business or regional center in the US and who create a minimum of 10 jobs for US workers can obtain permanent residence in the US through the EB-5 Investors Program.
Green Card Through Employment: General Resources
- USCIS Publishes Final Rule for Certain EB Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs (11-18-16)
- Successor-in-Interest Determinations in Adjudication of Form I-140 Petitions Memo (9-28-16)
- Litigation for Business Immigration Practitioners (6-06-16)
- Responding to a Request for Evidence (5-25-16)
- USCIS Draft Memo: Determining Whether a Job is in the Same or a Similar Occupation (11-20-15)
- Employment-Based Adjustment of Status through Section 245(k)
- Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)
Green Cards Through Employment: Additional Resources
Practice Advisories on Green Card Through Employment
- Litigation for Business Immigration Practitioners (8-20-18)
- Mandamus Actions: Avoiding Dismissal and Proving the Case (3-08-17)
- Failure to Appeal to the AAO: Does it Bar all Federal Court Review of the Case? (9-26-16)
- Practice Tip: Mandamus May Get Results When Nothing Else Works (9-14-16)
- Practice Tip: When to Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) (7-27-16)
- Litigation for Business Immigration Practitioners (6-03-16)
- Practice Tip: Responding to a Request for Evidence (5-25-16)
- Practice Tip: Building the Record for Employment-Based Petitions (4-01-16)
What Can We Help You With - Videos
Green Cards Through Employment
Green Cards Through Marriage
Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening an 8 attorney firm specializing in immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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