What Are EB-2 And EB-3 Employment Visas?
EB-2 and EB-3 visas are part of an immigration category called Employment-Based (EB) immigration. Through this immigration category, individuals can use petitions from employers or family as the basis to immigrate to the United States. The EB category is one of several immigration categories that can lead to green cards for its holders. Within the EB category, there are the two subcategories of EB-2 and EB-3. These differ in both the level of education that the visa holder has, and the wait time to actually receive your green card. Both EB-2 and EB-3 visas have a limited number that can be issued by USCIS in any given year.
Individuals with a master’s degree or higher generally receive an EB-2 visa, and it typically requires the individual’s employer to petition for a green card for them. However, if the individual is a PhD professor or researcher at a university, has outstanding or exceptional abilities, or falls into the National Interest Waiver category, they may be allowed to petition for themselves. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree can qualify for an EB-3 employment visa. This visa does require that individual to be sponsored for a green card by their employer, and the job position must require a bachelor’s degree. Each category will have different visa priority dates. Once USCIS approves the employer’s petition, and once their priority date has been reached, the individual can use their petition approval to apply for a green card.
What Does The Process For Receiving an Employment-Based Green Card Look Like?
The process for receiving an employment-based green card can be fairly complicated. First, the employer would have to inform the US Department of Labor of their intentions to fill a certain position with an individual. The employer does this through a labor certification application, also known as PERM. In this PERM, the employer must describe the position and its minimum job requirement, and the salary being offered. Before completing this process, the employer must contact the Department of Labor and request the average wage for the position they hope to fill. Once the employer receives the answer, based on job description and requirements, they must advertise the position.
How the position must be advertised depends on the position category, and can be fairly complicated. Depending on the category, there are specific criteria that must be met. Some positions require that it be advertised in at least two Sunday publications, across at least 5 venues. The employer must collect applications, interview a certain number of people for that position, and prepare a report of their recruitment efforts. As part of the PERM application, the employer must state to the Department of Labor why they believe there were no US citizens suitable for the position in the applicant pool.
If the employer can identify a US citizen who meets the position requirements, the employer can decide if they want to hire them, thereby stopping the recruitment/PERM processes. If there are no US citizens who meet the position requirements, the next step is for the employer to file a labor certification application with US Department of Labor. In this application, they must state the position they are hiring for, the person they want to hire and their experience, and the salary being offered. If the application is approved by the Department of Labor, then the employer will file an I-140 petition with USCIS. If that petition is approved, the individual can apply for a green card once their priority date has been reached. After this, the green card application process becomes much more straightforward.
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