Employment-Based Green Card Law Firm
The law provides a variety of options for employers and foreign nationals seeking to obtain permanent resident status (“green card”) through employment. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) limits the number of employment-based green cards each year to 140,000. Those 140,000 are distributed among several employment based (EB) categories. Additionally, no single country may use all of those visas allotted to each category. Thus, the limits created the current backlog and triggered the need for additional laws (AC21) and regulations (I-140 EAD’s) and policies. Our team of immigration lawyers stays current on the trends so we can best advise our business immigration clients.
The EB-1 preference is that of “priority workers.” These are persons of “extraordinary ability,” “outstanding professors and researchers,” and “multinational executives and managers.” The second preference category, EB-2, includes persons holding advanced degrees or persons of “exceptional ability.” The third preference, EB-3, is for bachelor degree holders, skilled and other workers. The fourth preference, EB-4, is for special immigrants such as religious workers or returning residents and finally the fifth preference (commonly referred to as EB-5) is for people who make significant investments in the U.S. and create at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers.
Most employment-based or “EB” options require sponsorship by a U.S. employer. For those in the EB-1 category, no PERM is necessary and some foreign nationals may self-petition. This substantially decreases the processing time but the requirements are higher and more difficult to satisfy.
The employment based green card path generally has three stages. The first stage requires the employer to test the labor market to ensure no U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are displaced from a job opportunity. The petitioning employer will recruit for the position by posting ads in several locations and a job order with the state workforce agency. If the petitioning employer does not receive any qualified, willing, and able candidates, then the employer files the PERM, or “labor certification”, with the Department of Labor. Sometimes the DoL will audit the file and other times they do not. If the DoL certifies the PERM, the employer moves on to stage two.
Stage two of the process requires the petitioning employer to file the I-140 visa petition with USCIS. Premium processing the visa petition may be a good strategy here in that the employer and employee have a resolution on the case within fifteen working days. In adjudicating the I-140 visa petition, the immigration officers at USCIS review the PERM certification, the employee’s education and employment history, the job duties and the employer’s ability to pay the prevailing wage. USCIS routinely issues requests for evidence on these cases so employers and employees should be prepared to answer in a timely manner.
Assuming USCIS approves the I-140, the employee might be eligible to adjust status or consular process to get their green card. The initial inquiry is the preference category (EB-2 or EB-3) of the approved visa petition and the beneficiary’s country of chargeability (generally the country of birth and not the country of citizenship). Due to the quota noted above, the law only permits a certain number of green cards for some very intelligent people. Unfortunately, these beneficiaries must maintain their underlying immigration status to ensure they are eligible to adjust when the time comes. Each month the Department of State issues a visa bulletin that indicates which preference categories for which countries can file for their green cards. The immigrant’s place in line is based off their priority date. Once the preference category of their approved I-140 and the country of chargeability are “current,” the employee can file their adjustment of status application. That is stage three.
We designed this webpage just to provide a general background and roadmap. Unfortunately, as is usually the case with immigration cases, there are many nuances and issues along the way. Our decades of experience and desire to win give you, the client, an edge in your employment based green card case.
We Can Help
The Hammond Law Group, LLC represents with Fortune 100 companies, IT companies, and healthcare companies throughout the U.S. helping resolve the employment based green card issues. Our experienced team of immigration and green card lawyers evaluate all potential employment based options for U.S. employers wishing to sponsor workers. We also work with individual foreign nationals and determine if self-petitioning through an extraordinary ability EB-1 or an national interest waiver or if simply going through their employer will be the path of least resistance and most economical. Our immigration and green card attorneys can analyze these options, develop case strategies, and represent petitioners and applicants throughout the EB immigration process.