Nearly one in every four Americans is a child of parents who came from another country, according to the Urban Institute. Millions of people have traveled to the United States in pursuit of a dream, to seize the opportunities that are available to help achieve that dream. Throughout history, the United States has benefited from the new ideas, energy, and ambition brought to the table by workers from other nations. So, if immigrants help the American economy flourish, then why is it so difficult to secure employment-based visas in the United States? Why is the application process so long, complicated, and arduous?

The Law Office of Jennifer L. Bennett was created to help immigrant workers to overcome the challenges associated with securing employment-based visas in the United States. For over a decade, we have committed ourselves to making the employment-based immigration process faster and easier for our clients and their families. Through our high-quality work and deep-rooted belief in the merit of immigration in the United States, we have secured employment-based visas for hundreds of individuals.  While the process may seem daunting, you are not alone. Consider contacting a Chicago employment-based immigration lawyer at the JLB Law Group today at (312) 972-7969. 

What is Employment-Based Immigration?

Every year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants roughly 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas to qualified workers. For some, employment-based immigration can be a valuable avenue for securing a Green Card in the United States. For others, employment-based immigrant visas offer an option to work and earn money in the United States for a temporary period of time. 

The definition of a qualified worker is broad, based on the provisions of United States immigration law. To simplify this complex law, employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five major categories. There are also two additional visa avenues for religious workers, which allow ministers or those in a religious vocation/occupation and their families to pursue employment in the United States. 

EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers & Persons of Extraordinary Ability

Priority is given to noncitizens who have extraordinary ability in a certain industry or art, are outstanding researchers or professors, or who are multinational executives or managers. If a person falls into any of these categories, they may apply for an employment-based immigrant visa using the Form 1-140. Depending on the case, this documentation can be filed by the worker or by their United States employer. 

Three classes of workers are eligible to file for an EB-1 visa, which are based on the worker’s experience, educational and professional qualifications, and international acclaim. The three classes are divided as follows: 

  • Extraordinary Ability: This avenue is for individuals who have a clear and provable ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, which is supported by national or international acclaim. There are very specific criteria that must be met to apply for a visa for extraordinary ability. A Chicago employment-based immigration attorney can help you understand these criteria and how they may apply in your case. 
  • Outstanding Researchers & Professors: This option is for individuals with three years of teaching experience and international recognition in a specific academic field. 
  • Multinational Executives & Managers: For those who have been employed outside of the United States, but wish to transition to an American-based company as a compensated executive or manager, this option may be applicable. 

EB-2 Visa for Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

This visa option is for individuals who hold advanced degrees, such as a doctorate, or who possess exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. There is more than one type of EB-2 Visas. A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is one type and is for those holding advanced degrees and those with exceptional ability. A NIW applicant is required to file specific documentation and evidence that their work supports the national interests of the United States. PERM Labor Certifications is another type of EB-2 and requires job or employer sponsorship, as well as other criteria. Alternatively, the NIW is a self-petition case and does not require job or employer sponsorship. To learn more about which EB-2 might apply to your unique circumstances, you should reach out to JLB Law Group. 

EB-3 Visa for Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

Over a quarter of all employment-based immigrant visas are EB-3, making this a common avenue for workers with a wide range of skills and experience. All of these workers must have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor and have an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, filed by their employer. The three groups of workers who qualify under this category include: 

  • Skilled Workers: Individuals whose jobs are not temporary or seasonal and require at least two years of training or work experience. 
  • Professionals: Individuals who hold jobs that require at least a baccalaureate degree from a United States institution or its foreign equivalent degree.
  • Other Workers: People who are able to hold positions that are not temporary or seasonal and require less than two years of training or experience. 

R-1 and R-2 Visas for Religious Workers and Their Families

These visas are available for nonimmigrant religious workers and their families, who plan to work temporarily in the United States. The religious worker, who may be a minister or in a religious vocation, must be employed by one of the following to pursue a R-1 visa: 

  • Non-profit religious organization in the United States
  • Religious organization that is authorized to use a group tax-exemption
  • Non-profit organization in the United States that is affiliated with a religious domination 

Additionally, to qualify, the applicant must have been a member of a religious denomination with an established nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least two years before applying. If successful, it is possible for a religious worker’s spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 to apply for a R-2 visa. This visa does not permit the family member to work. The Law Office of Jennifer L. Bennett has helped we have many helped pastors and other religious workers from Nigerian and other African megachurches with their R-1 and R-2 visa applications. 

EB-4 Visas for Religious Workers

The EB-4 visa is an immigrant visa that can be utilized for religious workers as well as other professions including broadcasters, armed forces members and others. To learn more about the visas available for religious workers that might make sense for you and your family depending on your specific immigration needs and goals, contact Law Office of Jennifer L. Bennett. 

EB-5 Visa for Immigrant Investors

This avenue is available for foreign investors who are providing capital investment in new commercial enterprises that provide job creation. For a capital investment to qualify under the EB-5 visa, it must meet the capital dollar amount guidelines: 

  • $1,000,000 USD, or
  • $500,000 USD in a rural, high-unemployment area, or targeted employment area

The investment must create full-time jobs for at least ten United States citizens, permanent residents, or immigrants who are authorized for employment within two years. Labor certification is not required for these visa applicants. 

Frequently Asked Questions

After spending a decade representing immigrants seeking employment-based visas, we have identified the most commonly asked question that our team receives from clients. 

What Are the Requirements for Employment-Based Immigration?

It can be difficult to navigate the requirements for employment-based immigration in the United States. Immigration law is notably one of the most complicated legal systems in the country and even minor misunderstandings of the rules and requirements can lead to years-long delays and denials. This is the reason why many people seek assistance from  Chicago employment-based immigration attorneys at JLB Law Group. 

First, it is important to note that the requirements for employment-based immigration depend entirely on the type of visa that a person is pursuing. The requirements for the EB-1 visa, for example, will be much different than those of the E-4 or R-1.

Why is it Helpful to Hire an Attorney for Employment-Based Immigration Applications?

It can be helpful to hire an experienced employment-based immigration law firm to help you with your application because a knowledgeable attorney will be familiar with the application process and likely experienced it many, many times. Having an employment-based immigration attorney on your side can help you understand if you qualify before you even apply and then help you with the application steps from start to finish. 

Contact a Chicago Employment-Based Immigration Attorney Today at JLB Law Group

As an immigrant worker in the United States, you are an important member of the American workforce. In fact, in recent years, foreign-born working adults in the United States outnumber native-born workers. The impact of immigrant workers in the country is substantial, both in terms of economics and community. As a worker for an American-based employer, there are opportunities available to you, both visa sponsorship or securing a Green Card through employment. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, a Chicago-based immigration attorney at The Law Office of Jennifer L. Bennett can help you navigate the process today. Consider scheduling a consultation through our Chicago office at (312) 972-7969 to get started.