Employment Based

Temporary Employment-Based Visa Classifications

There are many different temporary employment-based visa classifications. Temporary employment-based visa classifications permit employers to hire and petition for foreign nationals for specific jobs for limited periods. Most temporary workers must work for the employer that petitioned for them and have limited ability to change jobs. In most cases, they must leave the United States if their status expires or if their employment is terminated.

Type of Temporary Employment Based Visas:

Specialty occupations Agricultural workers Seasonal non-agricultural workers intracompany transfer visa(managerial) Intracompany transfer visa(unique or special knowledge)
Numerical annual limits 65,000 plus 20,000 more for foreign professionals with U.S. master’s or higher degree No limit 66,000 No limit No limit
Duration of status Initially, for 3 years. May extend up to 6 years total Initially admitted for approved employment. May be renewed for maximum of 3 years Initially admitted for period of one year. May be renewed for total of up to 3 years Initially admitted for up to 3 years. May be extended up to 7 years Initially admitted for up to 3 years. May be extended up to 5 years
Spouses and children? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Permanent Employment-Based Immigration

The process of immigration through employment is a bit more complex than family sponsored visas and involves both USCIS and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The following are the basic steps in the process:

Foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency.

Most employment categories require the U.S. employer to complete and submit a request for a labor certification to the Department of Labor (“DOL”). The DOL will grant or deny the request.

The employer then files a Petition for Alien Worker with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). USCIS will approve or deny this request.

If approved, the applicant will be given an immigrant visa number. If the applicant is already in the United States, he or she must file for adjustment of status after the visa number becomes available. If the applicant is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will complete the process at his or her consulate office.

Preference Category Type of Worker Description Visas Current (available)
First Priority Workers Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers. Yes
Second Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees Persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Yes (except China, India)
Third Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers. Yes (except China, India)
Fourth Certain Special Immigrants “Special immigrants,” includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens. Yes (except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico)
Fifth Business Investors Business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers. Yes (except China)

For latest updates on visa availability, click here:
Visa Bulletin

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