San Diego Employment Based Green Card Lawyer
Under the provisions of U.S. immigration law, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), for qualified applicants. This number includes immigrants plus their eligible spouses and minor children. When considering an employment-based immigrant visa, the applicant must first have a prospective employer or agent willing to sponsor them for permanent or temporary residence and who can obtain labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. The law provides employers with several limited methods to bring foreign workers to the US on a temporary or permanent basis.
Permanent Residence Requirements
In order to obtain U.S. permanent residence, an individual must first be awarded an immigrant visa number. Eligibility for immigrant visa numbers is determined by the applicant’s country of birth in conjunction with the method by which the application for permanent residence is being filed.
The employer must demonstrate that admission into the US and subsequent hiring of the individual they are sponsoring will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers. This must be done prior to petitioning for the foreign worker’s visa. To fulfill this requirement, the employer is often required to obtain certification from the Department of Labor (“DOL”) that there are no U.S. workers available, willing, and qualified to fill the position at a wage that is equal to or greater than the prevailing wage generally paid for that occupation in the geographic area where the position is located.
Five Preference Categories
Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. The Department of State issues a monthly visa bulletin, summarizing the availability of visa numbers for each preference category on a per-country basis. The categories are:
- Employment First Preference (“E1”) Applicants must have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
- Employment Second Preference (“E2”) Applicants must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor.
- Employment Third Preference (“E3”) Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (“Other Workers”) – An E3 applicant must have an approved Immigrant Petition filed by the prospective employer.
- Employment Fourth Preference (“E4”) Certain Special Immigrants – An E4 applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
- Employment Fifth Preference (“E5”) Immigrant Investors – These categories are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation.
In certain situations, spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants. Based on the immigrant’s approved petition, a spouse and minor unmarried children, younger than 21, may apply for immigrant visas. They must also fill out required application forms, obtain required civil documents, pay the required fees, and undergo medical examinations. Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPRs”), along with their minor children, are now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses.
Temporary employment visas allow employers to hire foreign nationals to work in a specific job for a limited time period. The individual’s employer must file a petition with USCIS and The State Department makes the determination if a foreign worker is eligible for a nonimmigrant visa. If a visa is issued, the worker may travel to the United States to assume employment with the petitioning employer. Upon arrival in the U.S., a Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officer will inspect the worker to confirm eligibility for admission and to determine the specific length of stay. Upon expiration of the period of stay (and if it has not been extended by USCIS), the worker must depart the United States.
Permanent Employment Visas
To permanently work and live lawfully in the United States, foreign nationals must obtain a permanent employment visa (commonly referred to as a “green card”). As lawful permanent residents, they are subject to fewer restrictions than temporary workers (nonimmigrants), and generally may apply for U.S. citizenship after five years. Typically, the immigrants’ employer must file a petition with USCIS. If the immigrant is already in the U.S. on a temporary visa, he or she may apply for “adjustment of status” to permanent residence after USCIS approves the employer’s petition. If an immigrant chooses to have the visa application processed abroad, it may be processed by a U.S. consular officer regardless if the applicant currently is in or outside the U.S.
Hiring the best attorney for your immigration case can prove pivotal in your life, much like a marriage. A licensed lawyer is authorized and qualified to assist you with your immigration case or green card application. Unlike consultants, attorneys have completed extensive education and training before being licensed to represent clients. Just like a life partner, you want an attorney you can trust, communicate with, and relate to. Most importantly, you want an attorney who knows how to successfully proceed with your case so that you achieve the desired outcome. While many legitimate community and religious organizations provide immigration-related services, there are those who advertise as legal “consultants” or “notarios publicos” but are not authorized or qualified to help with immigration law-related matters. You face a big challenge, the power of the United States government. Don’t face it alone. Contact a San Diego Employment Based Green Card Lawyer at Superior Immigration Lawyers.