Entering the U.S. through employment can be divided into two categories: non-immigrant and immigrant. A non-immigrant employment-based visa will allow a person to work in the U.S., usually for a limited period of time. An immigrant employment-based visa will allow a person to live and work in the U.S. permanently through acquisition of Permanent Resident Status, or green card. The categories are as follows:
Most people obtain Green Cards (permanent residency) through family members. Two groups of family based immigrant visa categories are immediate relatives and family preference categories.
These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:
These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants so normally there is a wait for visa number to become available. Family preference categories include:
Please note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
An employer may hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States by obtaining a permanent labor certification. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition (I-140) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a certified labor certification application from the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The PERM process must include a lengthy recruitment effort for U.S. workers by the petitioner as follows:
In addition to the above advertising requirements, there other procedures required by the PERM regulations, namely, that the position be internally posted at the company and the procurement of a Prevailing Wage Determination for the position from the State Workforce Agency. The pre-submission period of a PERM application, including all the recruitment activities generally takes approximately three months, depending on how long the Prevailing Wage Determination is taking. The PERM system has its advantages and disadvantages. If you have questions on your particular case, or wish to consider a PERM application, please contact our office.
Individuals can obtain Green Cards through an investment under the EB-5 program, which was created to promote investments in businesses and to create and preserve jobs in the U.S. This allows people to become a lawful permanent resident by establishing a new commercial enterprise that provides full-time employment to at least ten U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, or other immigrants. Each year, 10,000 EB-5 visas are available to qualified individuals, and of these, 5,000 are set aside for those who apply under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program involving a Regional Center. A Regional Center is an economic entity, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. EB-5 investors may obtain permanent resident status either alone or coming with their spouse and unmarried children. Qualified individuals must have invested — or are actively in the process of investing — the required amount of capital into a new commercial enterprise that they have established. They must also demonstrate that this investment will benefit the U.S. economy and create the necessary number of full-time jobs for qualified persons within the U.S.
1. If you establish a new commercial enterprise that was:
2. If you have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, in a new commercial enterprise:
3. If your engagement in a new commercial enterprise will benefit the U.S. economy and: