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Employment Based Visa System

Employment Based Visa SystemEmployment based visa category has five preference categories. The requirements for each work visa category are, in general, as follows:

First Preference: Priority Workers:

Extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business or athletics:

The prospective immigrant must show sustained national or international acclaim, recognition of his or her achievements through extensive documentation; that he or she is entering the United States to work in that area of ability, and that this entry will "substantially benefit prospectively" the United States.

Outstanding professors or researchers:

The immigrant must have international recognition as outstanding in a specific field, at least three years' experience in teaching or research in that field, and be entering for a "tenured" or "tenure track" teaching position or comparable research position.

The alien's presence must substantially benefit the United States, and "exceptional ability" requires more than a mere degree or license. A job offer is normally required. However, this requirement may be waived by the Attorney General, through its designated representative, the Immigration & Naturalization Service.

Multinational executives and managers:

The immigrant must have been employed outside the United States for at least one year as a manager or executive during the three years preceding the petition for his or her entry as a non-immigrant, and the prospective employer in the United States must be the branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the same company who employed the alien abroad; and the prospective United States employer has been doing business for at least one year.

A Labor Certification Application, explained below, is not required for the above three subcategories.

Second preference: Professional holding advanced degrees and aliens of exceptional ability

This category is for members of the profession holding advanced degrees or their equivalent, or 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 are sought by an employer in the United States. A bachelor's degree plus five years professional experience in the profession constitutes the equivalent of an advanced degree.

Third preference: Skilled workers, professionals holding basic degrees, and "other" workers:

Skilled workers must have two years training or experience, and the job may not be temporary or seasonal. A professional must hold a United States or equivalent baccalaureate degree and be a member of one of the professions. The job offered must require a baccalaureate degree for entry into the particular occupation.

"Other workers" include non-temporary or seasonal unskilled laborers.

Fourth preference: Special immigrant religious workers:

The worker must be a member of the religious denomination for two prior years; the religious denomination must be a nonprofit, tax exempt religious organization recognized in the United States, and the alien must be coming to the United States to carry on work as a minister, professional or other worker. This category was created in the Immigrant Act of 1990, and contained a provision which caused the program to end on September 30, 1997. As of the date of writing of this article, there had been no formal extension of this program by the United States Congress.

Fifth preference: Employment creation investor:

(i) The investor must normally invest $1 million in a new United States business and create jobs for ten United States workers. If, in fact, the investor is investing in a high unemployment area of the United States, called a "target area", or a rural area of the United States with a population of below 20,000, the required investment amount is cut to $500,000. The list of target areas are provided by relevant state authorities.

(ii) For the investor who wishes to bail out a troubled business, the investor must invest the required sum and simply maintain the status quo of the employees. (It is not clear at this time whether the number of employees must be a minimum of ten.)

(iii) For the investor who is infusing capital into an ongoing business, which is not in trouble, the investor must increase its net worth by 40% or increase its number of employees by 40% over a two-year period.

The investor must show that his or her investment funds were lawfully obtained.

The employment creation visa yields a conditional or probationary stay of two years for the investor and his or her family, at the end of which he or she must prove that he or she met the requirements of his or her particular route to this green card, as referenced in the initial business plan.

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