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Employment-Based Immigration Petitions

Temporary Employment Visas: There are many temporary employment visas that enable foreign nationals to enter the United States to train, work in a professional or seasonal capacity, and/or manage or direct investment.  A specific offer of employment through a U.S. employer or sponsor is typically necessary to start the employment-based process.  This will then enable a foreign national to obtain a visa at a consulate aboard or change his/her status if the individual is already in the United States in a different capacity such as a student.  Understanding the need of the employer and individual is critical in determining which visa category is the most appropriate in securing an employment visa.  We can assist you with this process!  Common temporary employment visas include B-1 (Business Visitors); E-1 and E-2 (Treaty Traders and Investors); H-1B, E-3, and TN (Professionals); L-1 (Executives, Managers, and Specialized Knowledge Personnel); O-1 (Extraordinary Ability); P (Performers, Athletes, and Artists); Q-1 (Cultural Exchange); and R-1 (Religious Workers). 

Permanent Residence through Employment: While you may have started your employment in the United States on a temporary visa, an individual is very limited with how long he/she can continue to work without permanent residence.  These valuable employees may be eligible for a green card with the help of his/her employer.  Employers often choose immigrants based on their skills and expertise, and may wish to keep them in a permanent capacity to remain competitive.

Legal permanent residence (also known as a “green card”), is typically a three step process with some exceptions.

Labor Certification: For most individuals, the first step in employment-based permanent residence is the labor certification process (PERM).  The labor certification is a determination from the U.S. Department of Labor that there are no qualified and available U.S. worker at the prevailing wage in the area of intended employment, and that the employment of the individual will not adversely affect job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers.

A labor certification is not required for employment-based petitions in the first preference category such as EB-1-1 (Aliens of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, and Athletics); EB-1-2 (Outstanding Professors and Researchers); and EB-1-3 (Multinationals Executives and Managers), as well as some employment-based second preference category such as EB-2 with a National Interest Waiver.

Employment-Based Categories: After your labor certification is approved (if one is required), the employer then files an I-140 immigrant petition based on your employment category and your country of birth.

Adjustment of Status: Lastly, you and your immediate family will be able to apply for adjustment of status to become permanent residents when a visa is available in your employment category.  There may be a long wait for individuals born in certain countries such as China and India, and cross-chargeability may be used to eliminate or minimize the wait.  Cross-chargeability allows the government to move a family’s immigrant visa chargeability country to another if the spouse was born elsewhere to prevent family separation.