Seeking employment-based immigration tends to be more complex than most other areas of U.S. immigration law. It’s advisable to hire an attorney to help you navigate through the process and to make things simpler and quicker. Fady Eskandar, Anaheim Immigration Attorney, can assist you with any employment-based immigration applications and procedures.

The U.S. government allows 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas to be granted every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th) to applicants who are qualified and who follow the proper procedures set up by United States immigration law. There are five preference categories of employment-based immigration visas, many of which allow the visa holder’s spouse and children to accompany them to the U.S.

Obtaining an Immigrant Visa

Labor Certification and the PERM Process

U.S. immigration law requires that some employer-sponsored permanent residency applications must be granted permanent labor certification by the United States Department of Labor. Green Cards are one of the most common examples of this. Employers must demonstrate in their application for certification that no willing, available, and able U.S. workers exist to take the position. They must also demonstrate that hiring the non-citizen applicant will in no way cause adverse effects to working conditions or wages of other U.S. citizen workers in similar positions.

The Department of Labor’s criteria for issuing labor certification are very strict. The criteria were established by Congress in an effort to protect U.S. workers with similar qualifications, protect foreign workers’ rights, and to allow U.S. employers the opportunity to hire qualified foreign workers if they are unable to find U.S. citizen workers to perform the same job.

Any employers filing for labor certification are required to complete the Program Electric Review Management process, also called the PERM process. PERM works through an electronic platform that allows the government to receive and process applications for labor certification. Through this system, employers can confirm the accuracy of their applications while the government is able to check and confirm the employer’s statements.

If the labor certification application is approved by the Department of Labor, the employer will work together with the foreign national to continue through permanent residency procedures. This will involve submitting the proper documents to the USCIS agency for processing.

Employer-Based Immigration Categories

Five separate employer-based immigration categories exist. To understand which one may be appropriate for you and how to go about the process, contact Fady Eskandar, Anaheim Immigration Attorney, for guidance and assistance.


Three types of individuals may typically be granted EB-1 visas:

  • Those with some extraordinary ability in arts, science, business, athletics, or education. Documents must be presented to demonstrate the individual’s sustained national or international acclaim or recognition in their stated area of expertise. Specific job offers are not required for these types of applicants, as long as their purpose in entering the U.S. is to continue working in their field of extraordinary ability.
  • Those who are extraordinary researchers or professors with a minimum of three years of experience researching or teaching. The individual should have international recognition. The intention of the individual when coming to the U.S. should be to pursue tenure-track teaching, tenure, or comparable research positions at an institution of higher learning, such as a university.
  • Multinational executives or managers who have been employed by a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company of a U.S.-based employer for at least 1 year of the 3 years prior to the application date. They are required to have worked in an executive or managerial role outside of the U.S., and their intention in coming to the U.S. must be to work.

Priority Workers do not need labor certification, and they receive around 28% of the annual global limit for employment-based immigration visas.


Professionals with an advanced degree or something equivalent to it may be issued an EB-2 visa. Some examples of advanced degree equivalents include any type of degree above a baccalaureate or baccalaureate degree paired with a minimum of 5 years of progressive experience in that field.

Some EB-2 visas are granted to those who can demonstrate exceptional abilities in arts, sciences, or business. This is defined as those with a degree of expertise that is significantly higher than the average level encountered in their field of arts, business, or sciences.


The EB-3 visa is intended for issuance to professionals, skilled workers or unskilled workers (other workers). A skilled worker is defined as an individual whose job is not temporary or seasonal and would require a minimum of 2 years of work experience or training. Professionals are those who are part of a profession which requires a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. institution of higher learning or a foreign degree that is equivalent. Unskilled workers, or other workers, are those who may fill positions that are not temporary or seasonal and do not require two years of experience or training.


EB-4 visas are sometimes issued to religious workers, specific non-citizen employees of the U.S. government, or to Iraqi or Afghani citizens that worked as translators for the U.S. Armed Forces a minimum of 1 year.


Under the EB-5 visa, foreign investors are able to become permanent residents in the U.S. when they invest a certain sum of money into creating jobs within the United States. Applicants must invest a minimum of $1 million, or $500,000 in rural or high unemployment areas. The commercial enterprise must employ a minimum of 10 full-time employees. Funds for investment may be held in escrow until the conclusion of the permanent residency application process when they will be released if the applicant is successfully accepted.

Applicants for the EB-5 visa may also invest in pre-approved Regional Centers. The official definition of a Regional Center is “any economic entity, public or private, which is involved in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.”

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