Employment-Based Immigration

An American President once said that “the business of America is business”, and this historic focus on the economy is reflected in our country’s immigration laws.

For decades, employment-based immigration has been one of the fundamental principles of our nation’s immigration policy. Since 1990, the employment-based categories have been divided into five “preferences”, or classifications, each of which has its separate criteria, definitions and procedures. In summary, the employment-based preferences are:

Priority workers (EB-1)

Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability (EB-2)

  • Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business;
  • Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals;
  • Foreign nationals who qualify for the “national interest waiver”.

Skilled or professional workers (EB-3)

  • Foreign professionals holding bachelor’s degrees;
  • Foreign nationals who are skilled workers (employed in jobs requiring minimum of two years training and experience);
  • Foreign nationals who are unskilled workers.

Special Immigrants (EB-4)

  • Foreign nationals who qualify as religious workers;
  • Foreign nationals who are employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad.

Immigrant Investors (EB-5)

  • Foreign entrepreneurs, “job-creation immigrants”, investing $1.0 million in a new or existing U.S. enterprise which will create at least 10 U.S. jobs (or a lesser amount in economically-disadvantaged areas).

Most employment-based immigration is employer-sponsored immigration. This means that, with the exception of foreign nationals of “extraordinary ability” and persons who qualify for the “national interest waiver”, all persons in the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 categories must have a sponsoring employer. In addition, most employment-based Petitions in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories require a “Labor Certification.”

A Labor Certification is a determination by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) that there is a lack of qualified U.S. workers for a given position and that the hiring of a foreign worker will not harm U.S. workers. In order to obtain a Labor Certification, an employer must recruit for the position and must consider the qualifications of interested U.S. workers. The recruitment must be thoroughly documented and any rejection of U.S. workers must only be for lawful, job-related reasons.

The Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch has extensive experience in all areas of employment-based immigration. If you, your employer or employee would like to know more about employment-based immigration, please e-mail or call the Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch to schedule an appointment.