In employment-based immigration, there are generally three main steps:
Step 1: The sponsoring employer obtains certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers to perform the job. The application filed with DOL is called a PERM and requires advertising for the job position in such media as newspapers, trade journals, ethnic or local publications, radio, etc. The employer conducts recruitment for the position by interviewing any qualified applicants.
Step 2: After obtaining PERM certification, the employer files an I-140 petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to classify the foreign national in one of the following three preference categories:
First preference: The first preference category (EB-1) includes foreign nationals with extraordinary ability (similar to the O-1 nonimmigrant visa), multinational executives and managers (similar to the L-1 nonimmigrant visa) and outstanding professors and researchers. No labor certification is required for EB-1 applications.
Second preference: The second preference category (EB-2) is for foreign nationals with advanced degrees (which includes a bachelor degree plus five years of progressively responsible experience) or with “exceptional ability.” This preference category is advantageous because individuals can typically file green card applications simultaneously with the employer’s I-140 petition.
Third preference: The third preference category (EB-3) applies to professionals, skilled and other workers who do not fall within the first two categories. There is typically a long wait of multiple years before an individual in the third preference category can apply for his or her green card. An individual in this category must find ways to maintain his or her status until he or she can apply for a green card.
Step 3: When a visa (green card) is available, the foreign national applies for his or her lawful permanent residence. Depending on the preference category (EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3), there may be no wait or a wait of multiple years before a visa is available.
The employment-based green card process is complicated and requires expertise in immigration law. Contact the Law Office of Jacob L. Ratzan, P.A. for questions regarding employment-based immigration.