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Employment Based Green Cards

A common avenue for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident is to be sponsored through your employment. This allows spouses and minor children of foreign work to receive green cards as well. This requires that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States. Theoretically, the green card is based on future employment, so an employer can sponsor an alien even if they are not in the United States and not working for them at the current time. However, in practice, most alien applicants are already working for the sponsoring employer under a non-immigrant work visa such as a H1-B or L-1 visa before a petition for a green card is filed. In most cases your employer will actually have to be the sponsor, unless you are eligible to petition yourself under certain EB-1 or EB-2 categories, which are discussed below in more detail. At the Law Offices of William A. Proetta, our immigration attorneys assist sponsoring employers and employee permanent resident applicants through the green card process. We represent clients throughout New Jersey including Edison, Jersey City, Elizabeth, South Brunswick, Woodbridge, North Bergen, and New Brunswick. Contact our office today at (732) 450-8300 to learn more about how we can help you during a free initial consultation.

As a general rule of thumb, in order to be eligible, employment green card petitions are going to require a job offer and employer sponsorship by filing the petition for the worker. Employers must first file a labor certification with the Department of Labor, commonly known to as PERM application. This is a certification from the U.S. employer that there are no qualified workers in the United States that are available or willing to do the job that the alien will be hired for. As proof of this attestation, the employer will normally be required to provide records showing that the work position has been advertised, the necessary skill requirements for the position, verification of the prevailing pay for the job, as well as the company’s ability to pay. Once the labor certification is approved, the employer can then file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The applicant must then wait for their priority date (marked by the date they filed) before they can file for adjustment of status. If the priority date is current, it is possible to file Form I-140 with Form I-485, adjustment of status at the same time. The USCIS allows you to both file for a green card while you are living outside the United States through consular processing or while you are living in the United States.

Green Card Through a Job

As you can see the process for an employment based green card is a long and complicated and can often take several years. A major factor is the statistical limitations that the government sets for the number of applicants which are allowed each year. For instance, every year a maximum of 140,000 applicants are awarded green card in employment based categories. However, each country is limited to receive only small portion of that total number (ie. 7% of the 140,000 green cards), no matter how big your country is. This creates huge backups for countries like India and China who have enormous populations and a large number of foreign workers temporarily employed in the United States on various work visas. Employment-based green cards are divided into five preference categories which are explained below. As mentioned above, some categories require PERM applications, labor certification from the Department of Labor, while others do not.

Employment First Preference (EB-1) Priority Workers – This category is reserved for aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers. Applicants must be sponsored by an employer but labor certification is not required in this category.

Employment Second Preference (EB-2) Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability –  Professionals holding advanced degrees (beyond bachelor’s degree) and other aliens with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business that will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States. Generally this requires a labor certification and employer sponsorship but the requirements may be waived through an exemption called the National Interest Waiver.

Employment Third Preference (EB-3) Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers – This category requires sponsorship by a prospective employer and labor certification by the Department of Labor. Requirements differ depending on the subgroup within this category.

Employment Fourth Preference (EB-4) Certain Special Immigrants – This category is for applicants who are approved under Form I-360 and can include Religious Workers and certain widows and children of international government workers.

Employment Fifth Preference (EB-5) Immigrant Investors – This category is reserved for foreign investors who are making a capital investment in new commercial enterprises in the United States that will create jobs.

 Helpful Links on the Employment Sponsored Green Card Process

Adjustment of Status Consular Processing
Priority Date PERM Application
H-1B Work Visa L-1 Work Visa
New Jersey Immigration Lawyer U.S. Green Card Lawyer