Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seattle Immigration Lawyer | Employment-Based Visa Preferences

Returning to my series on obtaining a green card based on a job offer, when deciding whether to apply for an immigrant visa you must determine which employment-based preference category you fall into.

The first three employment-based immigrant visa preferences are as follows:

First Preference (EB-1): Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers. (No Labor Cert. required.)

First Preference is known as the category for “priority” workers. Needless to say, the vast majority of immigrants do not meet the criteria. However, if you think you might qualify under this preference you should consult an experienced immigration attorney to make sure you meet the criteria and assist you with the visa petition—each subcategory within First Preference has its own specific requirements.

As of this month, the priority date for First Preference is current no matter where you are from, meaning there are currently enough visa numbers under this preference to meet the applicant demand. This is typical for the First Preference, though it’s not unusual for there to be a backlog for immigrants from China, India, Mexico or the Philippines, even under this preference.

Second Preference (EB-2): Professionals holding advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. (Labor Cert. required, unless you obtain a national interest waiver. A national interest waiver may be given when the immigrant’s presence in the U.S. would benefit the U.S. in the future. The positive impact that you will have to show must be national in scope. This is a hard waiver to obtain and you should definitely consult with an experienced immigration attorney to assist you.)

The Second Preference also has specific requirements for its subcategories. In general, the Second Preference is for those who are immigrating to the U.S. in order to work full-time in their field and who have an offer for permanent employment from a U.S. employer.

Now, the exceptional ability subcategory of the Second Preference is a little easier to qualify for than the subcategory of the same name for First Preference. Here, if you can demonstrate national acclaim over a period of time that’s enough.

As of this month, the priority date for Second Preference is current (unless you are from China or India), meaning there are currently enough visa numbers under this preference to meet the applicant demand.

Third Preference (EB-3): Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers (also called “unskilled workers). (Labor Cert. required.) Most immigrants will fit into one of these subcategories, which I will discuss in my next post, along with the Fourth and Fifth Preference categories.

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