Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
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What are the categories for employment-based immigrant visas?

There are five categories in which employment-based immigrant visas are divided. Persons wishing to work in or continue working in California under an employment-based immigrant visa might need to understand in which category they fall.

EB-1 applicants, or priority workers, must have an accepted Form I-140, which is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They do not have to have labor certification from the Department of Labor. EB-2 applicants, or professionals with advanced degrees and immigrants with exceptional abilities, generally need labor certification. They must also be offered a job with a U.S. employer that files Form I-140 on the applicant's behalf. Applicants could apply for a National Interest Waiver, which avoids these requirements, and file Form I-140 with evidence that granting them visas is in the nation's best interest.

EB-3 applicants, or professionals, unskilled workers and skilled workers, must have a prospective employer file an accepted Form I-140. They usually need labor certification as well. Workers in the first three categories are each granted 28.6 percent of employment-based immigrant visas granted worldwide every year. EB-4 applicants, or special immigrants, include broadcasters, religious ministers, certain Afghan and Iraqi nationals and translators, and certain foreign medical graduates, retired international workers, unmarried persons and surviving spouses. These workers need an accepted Form I-360. Some former or current U.S. government employees abroad need to file Form DS-1884. The law does not require labor certification for EB-4 applicants.

EB-5 applicants, or immigrant investors, are foreign investors who make capital investments in new commercial enterprises. They must invest $500,000 in rural areas or high-unemployment areas or invest $1 million without borrowing to qualify. Applicants also have to create a minimum 10 full-time jobs for others working in the country, excluding their spouses, sons and daughters. Applicants who are unsure about their particular status may seek guidance from an employment immigration attorney

Source: Bureau of consular affairs, "Employment-Based Immigrant Visa", January 06, 2015

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