Green Cards and Employment

Green Cards

As with family-based immigration, Congress has designated certain employment based groups to which it gives preference in immigrating to the United States. All employment based groups are subject to an overall numerical limitation. The employment based sponsorship of a foreign national for a Green Card is complicated and difficult to understand.

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The requirements for all preference groups are:

1. The U.S. based employers offer of employment must be for a full time position.
2. The Department of Labor must certify that U.S. workers qualified for the job being offered are unavailable to fill the position (with some exceptions).
3. The foreign national must meet the minimum requirements for the job position.
4. The employer must be able to pay the foreign national’s salary.
5. The foreign national and employer must both intend for the foreign national to fill the position.
6. An immigrant visa number must be available to finalize the process for permanent residence.

The procedure for obtaining permanent residence through employment requires the filing of a petition. The employer must identify the foreign national as the Beneficiary of the petition and demonstrate his/her eligibility for the offered position. Once the petition is approved, the foreign national may apply for permanent residence when an immigrant visa is available. The foreign national may receive the immigrant visa while in the United States or at a U.S. consulate abroad.

In employment cases, an individual’s “priority date” is the date the labor certification is filed or the date the visa petition (in cases where no labor certification is required) is received by USCIS.  The visa availability is determined by the State Department. An immigrant visa is available when the preference category is “current” or the individual’s “priority date” is earlier than the cut-off date listed by the State Department in its monthly visa bulletin.

See the link below to access the Visa Bulletin:
http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html

Can my family members also obtain an Immigrant Visa?

Immediate family members can also immigrate to the United States with the employment-based immigrant. No separate immigrant visa petition is required on behalf of such family members as they are derivatively included in the I-140 petition. The foreign national’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 qualify as derivative beneficiaries.