While there are over 180 different types of US visas, people from abroad are having a hard time immigrating to the US. Obtaining an immigrant visa, especially an employment-based one, is often a time-consuming and complicated process.
For that reason, many US employers and workers looking to move to the US seek professional help. Immigration lawyers provide legal assistance in immigration law matters.
Once you finish this article, you’ll be able to tell if you need help from Law S&B immigration experts.
Before you make any final decisions, let’s see what the application process for an employment-based immigration visa looks like.
The application process
The first step of the application process is obtaining the labor certification. Basically, the employer must prove they can’t find a US worker eligible for the position. The recruitment process is extensive because the US government has to ensure the candidate isn’t displacing any qualified US workers.
For that reason, the employer will run three kinds of advertisements: a job order, newspaper ads, and three auxiliary ads posted on the internet, radio, or college campuses.
An employer cannot simply reject an applicant without a good explanation.
If no candidates take the position, your employer must file a form requesting a labor certification.
Those that want to immigrate to the US through employment should know that there are five preference categories:
E1. – Priority workers and persons of extraordinary ability
Workers in this category are privileged because they don’t need to go through the labor certification process.
Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics file a petition on their own because they don’t need a specific job offer, as long as they plan on working in their expertise. They must prove their eligibility with an extensive list of documentation.
Outstanding professors and researchers working for at least three years and recognized internationally also fall into this category. Unlike persons of extraordinary abilities, they need to have a specific job offer and file a petition through their future employer.
Certain executives and managers employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate or branch of the US employer are also able to immigrate to the US this way. Of course, they need a job offer from their employer that will file a petition for them.
E2 – Professionals with an advanced degree and persons of exceptional ability
Unlike the previous category, the applicants here need to have a labor certification. The US employer will provide a job offer and file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker on behalf of the worker.
Professionals holding a degree beyond a baccalaureate degree, or those with a baccalaureate degree and at least five years of progressive experience in the profession fall into this category, as well as persons with a degree of expertise significantly above the ordinary in the sciences, arts, or business field.
E3 – Skilled and unskilled workers and professionals
Just like in those in the previous category, the labor certification process for workers in this category is a must. The employer will also have to file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker on behalf of the worker. Let’s see what makes someone a skilled worker, a professional, and an unskilled worker.
Skilled workers are people that need at least 2 years of training or work experience that isn’t temporary or seasonal to be eligible for the job.
Professionals are those that need at least a baccalaureate degree from a US university or college or a foreign equivalent degree.
Unskilled workers or other workers, on the other hand, are people capable of filling positions that require less than two years of training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
E4 – Certain special immigrants
These applicants must be the beneficiaries of approved petitions for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, with some exceptions. Labor certification isn’t needed for applicants from this category.
A lot of different people fall into this category, such as ministers of religion, certain foreign medical graduates, retired international organization employees, as well as their unmarried sons and daughters.
E5 – Immigrant investors
This type of visa is approved for foreign investors making a capital investment in new commercial enterprises in the US that provide job opportunities.
The investment should amount to at least $500,000 depending on the geographical area. It should provide at least 10 new full-time jobs for US citizens, holders of green cards, or other lawful immigrants.
Depending on the category, the applicant will file the petition along with the necessary documents proving their eligibility. The US government is very strict when it comes to approving the petition.
When do you need a lawyer?
As you can tell, employment-based immigration is a lengthy process. There are a lot of rules you need to follow if you want to do it right and obtain a visa.
If you’re still not sure whether you can do this on your own, here are some things you should keep in mind.
You’re not sure of your options.
If you can determine which visa category you fall into, we advise you to contact an immigration lawyer and ask for legal advice. This is especially important if you think you fall into multiple categories because the process may be different.
For instance, unskilled workers will have a harder time than persons with extraordinary abilities because the latter category doesn’t require labor certification.
You’re an employer looking to hire international employees.
The immigration process is incredibly time-consuming and complicated. If you have no experience with immigration law, it’s best to hire an immigration lawyer and avoid potential disasters.
If you’ve taken part in criminal activities or lack employee sponsors, for instance, you might be inadmissible. This means you’re likely to get denied.
But maybe a skilled immigration lawyer can help you remove some of the obstacles and obtain an immigrant visa.
If you’re experienced with immigration law and employment-based immigration, you might be able to pull this off without a lawyer. The reality is that most people aren’t experts when it comes to immigration law.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably best that you hire an immigration lawyer and seek assistance.