Employment offers many individuals a path to live and work in the U.S. on an either temporary or permanent basis. The categories of employment eligible for possible immigration benefits are diverse, and include professions in the arts and sciences, in academia, in business and investing, in athletics and entertainment, in medicine, in agriculture, and in other areas of work.
Are you an employer interested in learning more about how to hire workers from abroad to fill a season or permanent need? Are you a professional with a distinguished career in your particular field and want to know what is required to seek permission to work in the U.S.? Call Benson & Benson for a consultation. We will go over your particular case in detail and identify a workable solution to help you achieve your employment-based immigration goals.
Immigrant Employment Categories
For individuals seeking to permanently immigrate through employment (or for employers interested in extending a permanent job offer to a prospective employee), the law divides the employment immigration categories as follows:
Employment-based 1st Preference (also known as "EB-1")
- The EB-1A subcategory is for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
- The EB-1B subcategory is for outstanding professors or researchers.
- The EB-1C subcategory is for certain multinational executives and managers.
Employment-based 2nd Preference (also known as "EB-2")
- The EB-2 category is for members of professions holding advanced degrees, or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Generally, petitions in the EB-2 category must have an approved PERM (traditionally known as "Labor Certification") from the sponsoring employer. (One exception to the PERM requirement for EB-2 cases is for those seeking a National Interest Waiver. National Interest Waiver petitions neither require PERM nor an offer of employment.)
Employment-based 3rd Preference (also known as "EB-3")
- The EB-3 category is intended for other professionals and skilled workers. Applicants in this category typically must possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. In lieu of a bachelor's degree, some applicants may be able to use their years of professional experience to qualify. Generally, petitions in the EB-3 category must have an approved PERM (traditionally known as "Labor Certification") from the sponsoring employer.
Employment-based 4th Preference (also known as "EB-4")
- The EB-4 category is for "special immigrants", a broad class of applicants that can include certain religious workers, certain non-citizen employees of the U.S. government abroad or non-citizen veterans of the U.S. armed forces, certain medical professionals, certain minor children who are declared wards of a court in a state in the U.S., and a few others classes of applicants. Generally, petitions in the EB-4 category do not require an approved PERM (traditionally known as "Labor Certification") from a sponsoring employer.
Employment-based 5th Preference (also known as "EB-5")
- The EB-5 category is for certain investors who, through their investment in a new or existing business, will create 10 full-time jobs in the U.S. within a 2-year period. The amount of capital required for consideration in the EB-5 program is substantial, to say the least. But the required capital amount will vary depending certain factors, such as whether the investor is operating on his or her own with respect to their new business, whether the investor is working with a USCIS-approved regional center, or whether the investment is creating economic opportunity in a targeted area of high unemployment.
Nonimmigrant Employment Categories
In addition to the employment-based immigrant visa categories noted above, there is a comprehensive group of employment-based visas for nonimmigrants (those who do not have the intention of residing permanently in the U.S.) In each case, the spouses and minor children of nonimmigrant employment visa-holders are eligible to receive a counterpart visa to allow the family to remain together.
Some of the common kinds of nonimmigrant employment categories are:
- E-1 (Treaty Traders)
- E-2 (Treaty Investors)
- E-3 (Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia)
- F-1 (Students)
- H-1B (Specialty Occupation Workers)
- H-1B1 (Specialty Occupation Workers from Chile or Singapore)
- H-1C (Nurses)
- H-2A (Agricultural Workers)
- H-2B (Seasonal Workers)
- J-1 (Cultural or Educational Exchange Program Workers)
- L-1 (International Executive or Manager Transferees)
- O-1 (Workers with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics)
- P-1 (Performing Artists or Entertainers)
- R-1 (Religious Workers)
- TN (Treaty NAFTA)
Each nonimmigrant employment visa category is subject to its own regulations and requirements, and we encourage you to contact Benson & Benson for a consultation so we can review your prospective case with you.