Getting a Green Card through Employment

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have 140,000 green cards slots set aside annually only for people who have job skills that U.S. wants to retain permanently. Generally, these petitioners have to garner a job offer from a U.S. based Company, and eventually get an employer willing to start the green card process on behalf on the petitioner.

Employment Based Green Cards fall under the following categories

Employment First Preference – Priority workers, including:

  1. Persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, the sciences, education, business, or athletics
  2. Outstanding professors and researchers, and
  3. Managers and executives of multinational companies.

Employment Second Preference -Professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability.

Employment Third Preference     -Professionals and skilled or unskilled workers.

Employment Fourth Preference -Religious workers and miscellaneous categories of workers and other “special immigrants” (described below)

Employment Fifth Preference    -Investors willing to put $1 million into a U.S. business — or $500,000 if the business is in an economically depressed area. The investor must also employ at least ten workers.

Employer’s Role in EB Green Card

An employer plays the most important role in the Employment based green card process. A foreign worker cannot directly apply for a green card. He or she has to have the help of an Employer who will get them a Labor Certification, which essentially proves that there was no American worker qualified, willing, or available to take the applicants job.

Step 1: Employer Recruits a Foreign Worker

For a foreign worker to start working in U.S. he or she needs to be recruited by a U.S. based Employer. The employer on his part first needs to advertise the job statewide through print and online publications. These ads need to appear on at least two Sundays. The DOL has fixed guidelines for employer to follow in this matter.

The Employer can hire a foreign worker for a position only if it is proven that no local U.S. candidates applied or qualified for the position. In that case, the Employer can go ahead and submit a Labor Certification Application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL generally either rejects or approves the certification within two months.

Labor Certification is not required for Employees who -

  1. Come under the “first preference” category i.e. persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; and managers and executives of multinational companies
  2. Comes under the “fifth preference” i.e. millionaire entrepreneur immigrants
  3. Comes under “Schedule A” occupations i.e. where there is a shortage of such workers.

Step 2: Employer files Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

Once the labor certification is approved, the Employer can then go ahead and make the job offer a permanent one.  This means the Employer extends the foreign Worker the offer to immigrate to the U.S. and hold the job permanently.

For this, the employer needs to file a visa petition on Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. After this the employer contribution towards the green card process ends directly.

Final Step to Citizenship

The foreign worker can then file another petition, Form I-485 Adjustment of Status or Permanent Resident. This Form can be filed along with I-140 or after the approval of I-140. Once this petition is approved, the immigrant then has to apply for Citizenship, pass a test based on U.S. history and government. And finally take an oath and be conferred the citizenship. This entire process can take around 5 to 6 years.