Employment 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
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,
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
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
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.
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
(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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