Employment Based Immigration
Employment Based Immigration represents about 13% of the total US immigration. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides a yearly limit of 140,000 on employment-based immigrant visas which are divided into five preference categories. This total includes immediate family members (spouse and children) of the principal applicant. Further, there is a PerCountryLimit. They may require a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the filing of an immigrant petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security .
- Priority Workers Category.
- Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees, or Persons of Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business.
- Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Baccalaureate Degrees and Other Workers
- Special Immigrants
- Employment Creation Investors
Allotment of Immigrant Visa Numbers by Preference Categories
- Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
- Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference
level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
- Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second
preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".
- Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
- Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.
Process (EB1, EB2, and EB3)
Stage 1 - Labor Certification
Employer/Petitioner files for Labor Certification (Form ETA 9089) from DOL, if required for the occupation.
The LCA is intended to assure that a petitioner/employer is NOT seeking to employ the foreign national for a particular job when qualified U.S. workers (U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents "Green Card" holders) are able, qualified, available, and willing to fill such a position. Employers must also document that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers, and they must pay the foreign worker the prevailing wage for the occupation.
The labor certification is for future employment and does not require a current/existing employment relationship with the foreign national "beneficiary."
This stage usually takes 4-5 months of pre-application preparation and about 2 months to process.
Stage 2 - Immigrant Visa Petition
- Employer applies for Immigrant Visa Petition (Form USCIS I-140) from USCIS to petition for an alien worker to become a permanent resident in the United States. The petition is a formal offer of permanent employment (that is, employment of indefinite duration).
If a Department of Labor certification is needed the application can only be filed after the certification is granted. The employer must show evidence of ability to pay the proffered wages.
The processing time for this stage is 6-12 months.
Stage 3 - Adjustment of Status
Beneficiary applies for Adjustment of Status (Form USCIS I-485) (within US)
"Concurrent Filing" of the I-140 & Adjustment of Status is allowed
Stage 3 - Consular Processing
- Beneficiary applies for Consular Processing (overseas)
An applicant's Priority Date must be current according to State department's Visa Bulletin. 
- at the time of filing for Adjustment of Status AND
- at the time the Adjustment of Status is approved.
The processing time for this stage is about 6 months, but may take up to several years for individuals depending on their Employment Preference Category, Country Of Chargeability and Priority Date.
Further Info and Discussions
All EB unavailable