The United States relies on noncitizens to fill many jobs and contribute to its economy. The government has almost 140,000 immigrant visas available each fiscal year for noncitizens, their spouses and their children who seek to immigrate to this country based on their job skills.
An immigrant with qualifying skills, education or work experience who meets eligibility requirements may live permanently in this country under its immigration policies allowing visa preferences for workers.
Some visa preferences require the immigrant to have a job offer from an employer, also known as a sponsor, in this country. The U.S. employer must have an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor before it can submit an immigration petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for some visa categories.
This DOL certification confirms that there are an insufficient number of available, qualified, and willing American workers to take jobs offered at the prevailing wage. The certification also states that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of American workers in similar jobs.
There are five categories of visa preferences. First, the EB-1 visa is intended for people with extraordinary ability in the fields of arts, athletics, business, education or science. EB-1 visas also cover exceptional professors or researchers and multinational executives and managers.
The second EB-2 visa is for people who work in professions with advanced degrees or for individuals with exceptional abilities in the arts, business or sciences.
The third preference, EB-3, is allotted for professionals, skilled workers and others in specific job classifications.
The fourth EB-4 preference is meant for people who are considered special immigrants. These include religious workers, U.S. foreign service posts employees, retired workers of international organizations, minors who are not citizens but wards of American courts, and other noncitizen classes.
The fifth EB-5 preference covers business investors who invest $1.8 million, or $900,000 in a targeted employment area, in a new commercial venture that employs at least 10 full-time American citizens.
In fiscal year 2021, there were an exceptionally high number of available employment-based visas. USCIS increased processing and approved over 175,000 employment-based adjustment of status applications. But there are still 65,000 employment-based visas unused at the end of fiscal 2022.
This country’s immigration process is complicated. Attorneys can assist you with reviewing your options and asserting your rights.