Employment-based immigration refers to the process of immigrating to the United States based on the immigrants’ ties to an employer.
There are both permanent and temporary visas available and employers who are interested in hiring and sponsoring individuals may apply for employment-based visas and green cards on their behalf. Although there are a few exceptions for some very highly skilled workers, the majority of employment-based immigration visas must be filed by an employer who is sponsoring the immigrant worker.
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, a minimum of 140,000 green cards are available each year for immigrants in five employment-based categories (formally known as “preferences”), created as part of the Act in 1990.
Category / Preference
1st Preference (EB-1)
Foreign nationals of “extraordinary ability,” outstanding professors and researchers, multinational executives, and managers
2nd Preference (EB-2)
Foreign nationals who hold advanced degrees or demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business
3rd Preference (EB-3)
* “Skilled workers” (foreign nationals capable of performing skilled labor, requiring at least two years of experience)
* “Professional Workers” (Foreign nationals who hold at least a baccalaureate degree)
* “Other Workers” (foreign nationals capable of performing unskilled labor)
40,040 (but no more than 10,000 for other workers)
4th Preference (EB-4)
“Special Immigrants,” including religious workers, international organization employees, and children who cannot be reunited with a parent because of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
5th Preference (EB-5)
Immigrant investors who must invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in U.S. commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants
The United States also offers temporary worker visas for immigrants who want to enter the United States for employment lasting for a fixed period of time. The options available include:
H-1B - Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers and Fashion Models
This type of visa is for immigrant workers in a specialty occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree or a higher in a specialty field. Other immigrant workers who are eligible for this visa include individuals who will work on cooperative research and development projects for the U.S. Department of Defense and fashion models of distinguished ability and merit.
H-2A - Temporary Agricultural Workers
The H2-A program enables U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.
H-2B - Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
The H2-B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.
TN - NAFTA Professionals
The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
L-1A - Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
L-1B - Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interest from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.
O-1 - Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
For the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
R-1 Religious Workers
The R-1 visa is nonimmigrant classification for individuals to work at least part time (an average of at least 20 hours per week) as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation and be employed with specific criteria for the organization and the nonimmigrant.
P-1 - Athlete, Artist, Entertainer
This type of visa is for artists, entertainers, and athletes who wish to compete in a specific event in the U.S.
Employment-based immigration matters tend to be more in-depth and complex than family-based immigration matters, which is why it is even more important to hire an experienced immigration attorney to assist you.
One mistake could mean reapplying or even rejection, which is why having a skilled attorney assist you throughout the process can ensure you get the job done right the first time around.
To get in touch with our immigration attorneys, contact us online or at (225) 396-5262.