Green Card Through Employment

A permanent resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “green card.” You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.

The steps to become a permanent resident are different for each category and will depend on if you are currently living inside or outside the United States.

If you want to apply for a green card (permanent residence) based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone for a green card based on permanent employment in the United States, we have several years of experience determining the best possible way to obtain a green card. The process is often complex and requires an in-depth understanding of the possible avenues available.

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EB-1 Priority Workers

You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager.

Extraordinary Ability – You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.

You must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:

  1. Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  2. Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  3. Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  4. Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  5. Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  6. Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  7. Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  8. Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  9. Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  10. Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts

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Outstanding Professors and Researchers

You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.

Examples of documentary evidence that a person is an outstanding professor or researcher:

  1. Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  2. Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  3. Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field
  4. Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  5. Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

Multinational Manager or Executive

You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.

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EB-2 Advanced Degrees

You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:

Advanced Degree

The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).

Exceptional Ability

You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” Must meet at least three of the criteria listed below.

Criteria:

  1. Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  2. Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  3. A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  4. Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  5. Membership in a professional association(s)
  6. Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  7. Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable

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EB-3 Professionals

You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.

Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.

Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.

The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature. You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.

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Fourth Preference EB-4

You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:

  • Religious Ministers and Workers
  • Broadcasters
  • Iraqi/Afghan Translators
  • Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
  • International Organization Employees
  • Physicians
  • Armed Forces Members
  • Panama Canal Zone Employees
  • Retired NATO-6 employees
  • Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees

EB-5 Investors

The fifth employment based visa preference category, created by Congress in 1990, is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category and they are: creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business.

New Business Enterprise

To qualify you must:

1. Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (discussed further below) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.

2. Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.

3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).

4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board member.

Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”

Troubled Business

To qualify you must:

1. Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.

2. Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.

3. The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business’s net worth before the loss.

4. Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.

5. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy. For example as a corporate officer or board member.

The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).

National Interest Waiver

Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.

Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.

You must meet at least three of the criteria below and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

Criteria:

  1. Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  2. Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  3. A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  4. Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  5. Membership in a professional association(s)
  6. Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  7. Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

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PERM/Labor Certification

The process of obtaining a labor certification is very detail oriented, time-sensitive and is many times intimidating. In order to facilitate this process and achieve positive results, counsel is often retained. We have successfully assisted our clients obtain PERM Labor Certifications and Special Handling Labor Certifications. We are familiar with the intricate details of ETA Form 9089 and understand what the Department of Labor looks for when certifying them. We obtain successful labor certifications on a regular basis and can help you complete this very important step in the permanent employment process.

A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the the employer must obtain an approved labor certification request from the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are no qualified U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment and that employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

In order to Qualify for a Permanent Labor Certification:

1. The employer must hire the foreign worker as a full-time employee.

2. There must be a bona fide job opening available to U.S. workers.

3. Job requirements must adhere to what is customarily required for the occupation in the U.S. and may not be tailored to the foreign worker’s qualifications. In addition, the employer shall document that the job opportunity has been and is being described without unduly restrictive job requirements, unless adequately documented as arising from business necessity.

4. The employer must pay at least the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

We pride ourselves in obtaining successful results for our clients. It is our goal to serve you promptly, efficiently and successfully. In many cases we are able to take immediate action on your behalf.

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