New York Employment-Based Immigration Attorneys
Obtaining Green Cards and Other Visas for Employees
When there are insufficient domestic workers to fill vacant positions or the perfect candidate for a job is located abroad, you will need the appropriate visa to facilitate one or more employees’ ability to work for your firm in the United States. Employers can sponsor certain types of workers for green cards, which confer lawful permanent residency and allow them to permanently live and work in the United States. There are also occupationally targeted nonimmigrant visas that can enable temporary or seasonal types of work.
Our New York employment-based immigration lawyers at J&K Law can assist your public or private company with the process of sponsoring current or prospective employees for many types of visas, including green cards. Our team has over 20 years of combined legal experience and has extensive knowledge of how to efficiently move through the U.S. immigration system. We are led by women of color immigrants who are committed to providing you with sophisticated and tailored legal guidance.
Green Cards for Permanent Employment-Based Immigration
An employment-based green card allows the beneficiary to live and work in the United States indefinitely. In most cases, an employee will need to be sponsored by a U.S.-based employer. Sponsoring employers will be generally required to go through PERM labor certification with the U.S. Department of Labor. This process will establish that there are no qualified U.S. workers willing or available to take the position and that the foreign applicant will be compensated at a rate that is equal to or greater than the prevailing age for that occupation and area.
Obtaining labor certification is a critical component of successfully procuring an employment-based green card for your sponsored employee. We can help guide you through this sometimes-confusing process. Once labor certification has been issued, the sponsored employee can apply for their green card. They will need to apply under 1 of 5 preference categories. The category under which they will apply will depend on their level of education and other qualifications. The preference categories for employment-based immigration are:
- EB-1: Priority Workers. The first preference category is reserved for those with “extraordinary abilities” in a variety of fields and disciplines, including the arts, education, business, science, and athletics. Celebrated professional artists can often secure green cards through this category. Multinational executives and “outstanding” professors and researchers can also qualify.
- EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Abilities. The second preference category includes individuals with advanced degrees, such as Master’s degrees, Juris Doctors, PhDs, or foreign equivalents. Professionals with a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of relevant job experience can also qualify. Arts, science, or business professionals with “exceptional abilities,” which can be easier to demonstrate than the EB-1 visa’s “extraordinary abilities” requirement, can be found eligible for the EB-2 visa. Individuals self-petitioning for a green card through a national interest waiver must first qualify under this category.
- EB-3: Professionals, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers. The third preference category includes professionals with bachelor’s degrees or foreign equivalents, “skilled workers” with at least 2 years of relevant experience or training, and “unskilled workers” for jobs that require less than 2 years of training but are not temporary or seasonal in nature.
- EB-4: Certain Special Immigrants. The fourth preference category is made up of a series of miscellaneous exceptions, including certain types of religious workers and current and former employees of the United States government.
- EB-5: Immigrant Investors. The fifth preference category is reserved for investors that plan to put at least $900,000 into a U.S.-based enterprise that will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) only issues a total of 140,000 total employment-based green cards each year. Each preference category is allotted a proportionate amount from this capped pool, with higher preference categories receiving any unused visas before lower preference categories.
In other words, your sponsored employee may not be able to obtain their visa immediately after their application is approved. They will need to wait until their “priority date,” or place in line, becomes “current.”
USCIS also enforces per-country limits, meaning that only a certain amount of visas can be issued to workers from a given country each year, even if visas are otherwise available. For this reason, applicants from China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines can experience extremely strong wait times.
Once a visa does become available, a beneficiary can either move to adjust their status if they are already in the United States or go through consular processing if they are abroad. If they did not already have a temporary work permit, an employee can begin living and working in the United States after receiving their green card.
Our New York employment-based immigration attorneys can assist you through each step of the green card sponsorship process. We can evaluate the qualifications of the employee or employees you which to sponsor, determine what category or categories they must apply under, and advise what types of wait times you should expect.