Employment-based green cards
Foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence (green card) in the United States based on their employment status. Each fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) are made available to qualified foreign nationals. These visas are divided into five preference categories denominated EB-1 through EB-5.
For some of the preference categories (categories EB-2 and EB-3), the foreign national’s prospective employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. Pursuant to this certification process, the employer must establish, among other things, that there are insufficient minimally qualified U.S. workers to fill the applicant’s position at the prevailing wage for that position, and that employment of the foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Once certification is obtained, the employer, or in limited cases, the applicant, must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).