Employment Based Immigrant Visas

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Employment based immigration to the United States is subject to an annual limitation of available visas. A total minimum of 140,000 immigrant visas yearly are available for this category which is divided into five preference groups (percent of yearly limit in brackets):

EB1, Priority Workers: Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; and certain multinational executives and managers (28.6%).

EB2, Members of the Professions: Professionals holding advanced degrees, and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, and business (28.6%).

EB3, Professionals, Skilled and Unskilled Workers: Professionals holding baccalaureate degrees, skilled workers with at least two years experience, and other workers whose skills are in short supply in the United States (28.6%).

EB4, Special Immigrants: Certain religious workers, ministers of religion, certain international organization employees and their immediate family members, and qualified, recommended current and former U.S. Government employees. (7.1%).

EB5, Investors: Persons who create employment for at least ten unrelated persons by investing capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. The minimum capital required is between $500,000 and $1,000,000, depending on the employment rate in the geographic area (7.1%).

Applying for the Visas

Certain applicants such as priority workers, investors, certain special immigrants, and diversity immigrants can petition on their own behalf. All others, generally, must have an agent or potential employer petition for them.

Prior to filing a petition with USCIS, the potential employer for members of the profession, professionals, skilled and unskilled workers, must obtain certifications from the Department of Labor that there are no qualified workers available for the proposed employment in the United States.

Numerical Limitations

Whenever there are more qualified applicants for a category than there are available numbers, the category will be considered oversubscribed, and immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed until the numerical limit for the category is reached. The filing date of a petition becomes the priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant’s priority date is reached. In certain oversubscribed categories, there may be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached.

Ortega-Medina & Associates can help a US employer and prospective employee determine whether the employment-based visa petition should be one for an immigrant, a nonimmigrant or both. We can also prepare all paperwork for filing with the US Department of Labor, US Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the US Department of State.

Additionally, an individual who believes he or she may be a candidate for independent immigration to the United States under either the priority worker, investor, or special immigrant category, may wish to contact Ortega-Medina & Associates for help in determining what the chances are of having an independent immigrant petition granted. We can also prepare all paperwork for filing with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the US Department of State.