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At Benach Collopy, our talented immigration attorneys have experience in all types of employment-based visas, assisting individuals, corporations, and non-profits navigate the alphabet soup of temporary visas and obtain permanent residence in the U.S. for themselves or talented employees. Call our DC employment-based immigration lawyers today.
U.S. immigration law provides about 140,000 immigrant visas every year for employment-based immigration. These visas are divided into five categories, also known as preferences, each of which has its own standards.
These categories can basically be divided into two groups: those positions that require PERM labor certification and those that do not. A labor certification is a determination made by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position. It is a prerequisite to filing an immigrant petition for all third preference cases and for the majority of second preference cases.
A labor certification is not required for EB-1 first preference cases and certain EB-2 second preference cases. To learn more about those types of visas, please visit or EB-1 page and speak with an employment-based immigration attorney in Washington DC.
To obtain a PERM labor certification, an employer must describe the position and its requirements with specificity, conduct a bona fide recruitment for the position, and submit an application through the PERM process to the DOL. The DOL can approve, summarily deny or audit the application, wherein the Department requests additional documentation from the petitioning employer. Once satisfied, the DOL will issue the labor certification and the employer may file an immigrant petition on behalf of the employee.
The employer must provide proof that it has the ability to pay the proffered wage, which was set by the DOL in the labor certification, and that the foreign national employee has the credentials to fill the position. Once the immigrant petition is approved and the visa number is current, the employee may seek adjustment of status or an immigrant visa. Backlogs in visa numbers are common throughout the third preference and in the second preference for individuals born in India or China. The backlog shifts every month and can be monitored at the U.S. State Department’s Visa Bulletin. Our DC employment-based immigration lawyers could help with that.
In addition to managing the employment-based residence process, Benach Collopy has a wealth of experience in obtaining temporary visas for clients working in all types of positions and for all types of employers. The most common visas are:
This visa is available to individual coming to work for a U.S. employer in a “specialty occupation,” that is, one that requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. The individual employee must possess the degree or its equivalent in experience and the position must also require the degree. The employer must demonstrate that it, in fact, has such a requirement and must also agree to pay the prevailing wage and comply with certain workplace regulations. H-1Bs are subject to a quota that is routinely met when they become available the first week of April. Planning for a new H-1B should begin early in the year.
This employment immigration visa is for intra company transferees. For example, a company wants to send an employee from Mexico City to work for its affiliate in Boston. The L visa requires the two companies to have a legal relationship such as parent, subsidiary, or affiliate. If the employee’s duties are managerial in nature, the employer may seek an L-1A visa, whereas if the duties involve the use of “specialized knowledge,” an L-1B visa may be sought.
This visa is for individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, or other discipline. Individuals seeking this visa must be able to show that they are acclaimed and have reached the top of their field. Awards, press, peer reviews, presentations, and demonstrations of the individual’s work are generally required. See our O-1 visa page for more information.
These visas are only available to Canadians or Mexicans and are based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The law provides for expedited processing for TN visas for individuals coming to work in a series of specialized occupations. The applicant must demonstrate that she fits within the position and has the credentials specified by the regulations. This is a good alternative to the H-1B visa for Canadians or Mexicans when there are no H visas left.
These employment-based visas are only available to nationals of countries with which the Unites States has treaties. The visas are available to two groups of people: (E1) those coming to engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and the treaty country; and (E2) those coming to direct the operations of an enterprise into which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. These applications are often made directly to the Embassy in the applicant’s home country as opposed to petitions with the Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) in the U.S.
An R visa is available to a foreign worker coming to the U.S. to work in a religious capacity. A religious organization in the U.S. must sponsor the applicant and the applicant must have been a member of the religious denomination for at least two years. In addition, the work must be religious in nature (minister, Sunday school teachers) as opposed to a secular position with a religious organization (accountant).
There are many other ways to immigrate to the U.S. through employment. Benach Collopy’s Washington DC employment-based immigration lawyers are familiar with the full range of options and can guide you through this process. Call today to schedule your consultation.