The United States offers about 140,000 immigrant visas, for foreign nationals who seek to immigrate to the United States based on their job skills. People with the right skills, work experience and education may be eligible to immigrate, and may be able to live and work in the US permanently. Five employment-based immigrant visa categories are provided by the USCIS for people who wish to immigrate to America based on their specific job skills.
Permanent work visas are granted under five different preference categories.
EB-1 – First Preference Category
EB-1 preference category is allotted for individuals with exceptional knowledge in the fields related to science, education, business, arts or athletics. Prominent researchers, managers and professors are also eligible for visas under this preference category and may be eligible to get a visa to immigrate to America. Moreover, this first category does not need a labor certification.
EB-2 – Second Preference Category
People who hold advanced degrees and individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, science or business, are provided visas under this EB-2 preference category. This preference category requires a labor certification unless the applicant is able receive a national interest waiver.
EB-3 – Third Preference Category
A labor certification will be required to apply for a visa under the EB-3 category. This category is for the skilled workers, professionals and other employees.
EB-4 – Fourth Preference Category
This is a category which is reserved for immigrants classified as “special immigrants”. The special immigrants are the religious workers, retired employees of international administrations, employees of US foreign service posts, foreign minors who are wards of authorities in the United States and certain other categories of non US citizens. This EB-4 preference category does not require a labor certification.
EB-5 – Fifth Preference Category
The EB-5 category, which does not need a labor certification, is reserved for business investors. To obtain a visa under this category the non US citizen investor must invest $1 million or $500,000 in a targeted employment area, in the United States. This investment must be capable of providing at least 10 new full-time jobs to US workers.
Certain immigrant visa preference categories require a job offer from a US employer. The employer who offers the job will be considered to be the sponsor of the visa applicant. The sponsoring US employer must get an approved labor certification from the US Department of labor, before filing an immigrant petition with the USCIS, for the selected employee.
The labor certification is required in order to verify that there are not enough qualified and willing US employees to fill the offered position. It is also required to verify that the foreign workers will not affect the wages and working conditions of the US workers who are employed in similar positions. The people who wish to immigrate to the United States based on their job skills, may apply for permanent work visas under one of the aforementioned preference categories.