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|Employment Based Immigrant Petitions
Before one applies for a green card, one must first be approved for a preference classification either through family or employment sponsorship. The employment based preference classifications are as follows:
First Preference (Priority Workers)
There are three classes of workers comprising this category – Aliens with Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, and Certain Multinational Executives and Managers.
Second Preference (Aliens in Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Aliens of Exceptional Ability)
This classification includes individuals who are members of professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent. The second preference classification is also available for those who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business, will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States.
Third Preference (Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers)
The determination of which group an individual would fall within this classification depends on the requirements of the position offered and the individual’s qualifications. Skilled workers are those who are capable of performing skilled labor (which requires at least 2 years of training or experience) for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Professionals are those who hold a bachelor’s degree and who are members of a profession. Other workers are individuals who are capable of performing unskilled labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Before an I140 petition can be filed, the U.S. Department of Labor must approve the sponsoring employer’s labor certification application (PERM).
Fourth Preference (Special Immigrants)
Special immigrants include a number of different individuals who are in a diverse set of circumstances (from religious workers to certain declared dependents on a juvenile court to Iraqi and Afghan translators).
Fifth Preference (Employment Creation)
This classification is available for aliens who have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, capital of $1 million in a new commercial enterprise that will create at least 10 full time jobs. As an alternative to the $1 million capital investment, the alien may invest $500,000 in an enterprise that is within a targeted employment area.
Immigrant Visa Availability (Priority Date)
Once the immigrant petition is approved, the beneficiary must wait until his or her priority date becomes current before applying for a green card. The priority date is generally the date on which the immigrant petition is filed or the date on which a labor certification has been filed (if one is required for the preference classification).
The United States Department of State issues a monthly Visa Bulletin that notes what priority dates are current for each classification. If the beneficiary’s priority date is the same or precedes the date noted on the Visa Bulletin for the designated preference classification, the beneficiary may then apply for a green card.
If you would like to discuss potential strategies for obtaining a green card, please contact us.
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