Green Cards through Work

Current immigration policy places a cap of 140,000 on employment-based immigrant visas, which are divided into five preference categories.

These categories are:

We will identify the appropriate employment-based preference category for you or your employee. We will also advise you about the availability of a national interest waiver for employees with advanced degrees of those with exceptional abilities in such field as medicine, medical technology, communications, science or the arts or whether it is necessary to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. All first, fourth and fifth preference immigrants are exempt from a labor certification requirement, while the majority of second- and third-preference immigrants are not.  In order to obtain a labor certification, the employer must demonstrate that despite a good faith effort to find a U.S. worker or permanent resident to fill the job, none was available or qualified and that the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely impact the wages and conditions of employment of similarly placed U.S. workers.

Due to the complex nature of these petitions, it is always advisable to have an experienced immigration attorney thoroughly review your background and qualifications, his prospective job duties, salary and the employer’s research contributions to the field. Then, if the applicant’s and sponsor’s qualifications meet the minimum requirements for an employment-based immigrant category, we will assist you in preparing the Labor Certification application, crafting the job requirements, conducting recruitment efforts and in filing a Labor Certification with the Department of Labor.

Upon receipt of an approved Labor Certification, the next step is preparing and filing the actual immigrant worker petition. Please note: The approval of an immigrant visa petition does not provide work authorization or permission to remain in the U.S. First, a visa has to be available. For this reason, it is important to maintain nonimmigrant status if the alien intends to work in the U.S. until the priority date is current.

Next, upon approval of the immigrant worker petition, adjustment of status to an “immigrant status” in the U.S. or at a U.S. consulate abroad must be filed. This final phase of the immigration process will allow the applicant, as well as spouse and dependents to complete their immigration to the U.S. and ultimately receive their “green cards”.  Processing can take a considerable amount of time, depending upon how, when and where this application is filed.

Just as in the family immigration system, significant backlogs exist in the employment-based green card system even as U.S. businesses face a variety of skill needs and a shortage of American workers to fill those needs. Depending on the country they come from, some of these skilled workers are facing unfathomable wait times.

Talented immigrants have made and continue to make crucial contributions to the development of next generation technologies and have founded some of the most innovative businesses in the United States. As global economic integration deepens, sustainable growth will depend in part on our continued ability to attract the best and brightest innovators.

To learn how your company and employees can benefit from the advantages of permanent residence through employment and labor certification, and for assistance with the preparation and filing of a PERM application, the immigrant visa petition, and either adjustment of status, or consular processing, please contact us.