Employment-Based Immigration Lawyer

For three decades, we have guided organizations and individuals through the intricate process of employment-based immigration.  Whether you are an employer seeking to sponsor a skilled professional, or an individual embarking on the journey toward employment-based residency in the U.S., our experience is your advantage.  Contact us by completing the contact form or emailing our office for an initial review tailored to address your unique immigration needs with precision and insight.

What Is Employment-Based Immigration?

Employment-based immigration refers to a U.S. immigration pathway that allows individuals to obtain a green card (permanent residency) based on their job skills or employment opportunities. This system is grouped into several preference categories (EB-1 through EB-5), each targeting different types of workers or skills.

Who Qualifies for the Employment-Based Preference Categories?

Qualifications for the employment-based preference categories are as follows:

  • EB-1 (Employment-based first preference)
    • Persons of extraordinary ability in arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics
    • Outstanding researchers and professors
    • Multinational executives and managers
  • EB-2
    • Persons of exceptional ability
    • Members of the professions holding advanced degrees
  • EB-3
    • Skilled workers
    • Professionals
    • Other workers
  • EB-4
    • Special immigrants (including religious workers and other specific categories
  • EB-5
    • Employment creation

Each sub-category is the subject of substantial law and specific requirements.

What Are the Requirements for Employer Sponsorship of an Employment-Based Visa?

For an employer to sponsor an employee for an employment-based immigrant visa, they must typically go through the labor certification process with the U.S. Department of Labor, called the PERM labor certification. This process involves proving that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position, that the foreign worker will be paid at prevailing wage rates, and that employing a foreign worker won’t adversely affect the conditions of U.S. workers.  Once certified by the Dept. of Labor, the employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with USCIS.  When the priority date is current, the foreign national applies for permanent residence based on the employer’s petition.  As with every type of visa, the prospective employee must not be subject to any grounds of inadmissibility, or if he or she is, then there must be a waiver available, and he or she must qualify for the waiver.

Are Any Employment-Based Immigration Visas Excluded from the Labor Certification?

Yes, certain employment-based immigration visas are excluded from needing to get the Dept. of Labor (DOL) certification, called PERM:

  • EB-1 Category. This category, including individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers, does not require labor certification.
  • EB-2 with National Interest Waiver (NIW). Individuals who qualify for the EB-2 category and who can show the work they are coming to the U.S. to perform is in the National interest of the U.S., can bypass labor certification. They must demonstrate that their work is of national importance, and that they have the ability to advance that work.

The labor certification process is typically required to ensure that hiring foreign nationals will not adversely affect U.S. workers. However, the categories mentioned above are exempt due to their specific qualifications and contributions.

How Do Priority Dates Impact Employment-Based Visa Waiting Times?

Priority dates are crucial in the employment-based visa process. They indicate when a labor certification application was filed with the DOL, essentially placing applicants in a queue for visa availability.   The Visa Bulletin, published monthly by the U.S. Department of State, shows which priority dates are currently being processed. The waiting time for an employment-based visa depends on the applicant’s priority date, preference category, and country of origin, as there are annual caps on the number of visas issued per country.

Can I Change Employers While My Employment-Based Visa Application is Pending?

An applicant can change employers while their employment-based visa application is pending, assuming they comply with certain requirements.  If the application is for an EB-2 or EB-3 visa and has reached a certain stage (typically after the I-140 approval), the new employer must file a new I-140 petition along with a request for portability under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).  This allows the applicant to change jobs without affecting their visa application, provided the new job is in the same or similar occupation.  The new employer may need to do a new PERM process, but the employee can retain the priority date of the prior approved PERM labor certification.

As a result, it is usually advisable to contact an experienced employment-based attorney in the case of switching to a new employer.

Complete the Contact Form or Email Us for an Initial Review or to Schedule a Sonsultation with our Experienced Employment-Based Immigration Attorney.

Whether you’re an employer looking to sponsor a skilled employee, or a professional navigating the visa process, we can help.  Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and take the first step towards achieving your employment-based immigration goals.

This is general information and does not constitute legal advice; each case must be analyzed independently. Nothing here creates an attorney/client relationship; each potential client must set up an appointment for proper analysis, and written agreement if after a full analysis we both agree in writing that we accept to represent the case and you also agree that you want us to represent your case as detailed specifically in the written contract.

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