Summary: Employment-based immigration offers the possibility of visiting, or immigrating to the United States on the basis of one's education, specialty skills and professional accomplishments.
Today I’d like to give you a general idea about how employment-based visas work. There are two types of work visas, immigrant work visas, which means that you get a green card at the end of the process, and nonimmigrant visas, which means that you come here to work for a period of time, then you return to your country. Today, I’m only going to discuss the green card employment visa.
Every year, 140,000 employment-based green cards are offered in five categories. Many more people apply than there are slots available, especially from China and India, so a lottery is run to determine who gets the slots. The worker green card categories signify how desirable an immigrant is to the United States government. The higher the category, the more the United States wants you, and the shorter your wait will be. You’ll see what I mean when I describe the categories:
- The first category is for persons of extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business or athletics. It is the hardest employment green card to obtain, because you have to prove you are at the very top of your particular field. These are going to be multinational executives, cardiologists, biophysicists, renowned researchers, sports stars, Nobel prize winners, and so on. Not every cardiologist, but renowned cardiologists, world-famous. Not every Canadian hockey player in the NHL, but only renowned hockey players in the NHL. The advantage to this category is that there is currently no wait for a green card, so if you qualify and you win the lottery, you get to come over here. There’s also no need to get a certification from the labor department, because the Nobel prizes and Stanley cups will be enough. Also, you don’t need to prove that there’s a job offer, we’ll take these people whether they have a job here or not, because they’re such wonderful people.
- 2nd Professionals holding advanced degrees, meaning PhDs, computer programmers, CEOs, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, chemists, pretty much the same as the first category, except that you don’t need to have won a Nobel prize, your master’s degree is enough. But it’s not enough, because in this category your employing company has to show that there’s a job offer available, then you have to get a certification from the labor department to prove that no Americans can do this job, you have to win the visa based on a lottery, and then still, you have to wait four years if you’re from China. It’s a tougher road, but it’s still doable.
- 3rd All other professionals, skilled and other workers – These are going to be holders of bachelors degrees instead of phds and masters, nurses, paralegals, school teachers, and so on. These people are going to face the same challenges as the second category, plus, it is harder to prove that there are no Americans qualified, because there are in fact lots of Americans who can do these jobs. Generally it’s tough applying for this category, and everything below this.
- 4th Special immigrants, religious workers, etc., these are the oddballs, like people who commute across the border for work every day, religious workers, people working in the Panama canal, abandoned minors, and so on.
- 5th is for investors of over a million dollars, or half million dollars if you invest in a certain geographical area with a low population density and certain unemployment numbers, into a new enterprise that creates at least ten jobs in the United States. This has to be an active enterprise, not just purchasing real estate or stock in the United States, you have to start a company that requires your presence here to run it. This is an interesting visa category, because you can actually pool funds together to reach that amount, but only one person gets the green card.
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