The Immigration and Nationality Act (hereinafter the Act) provides five employment-based immigration “preference” categories under which a foreign worker may qualify for permanent residence in the United States.
The five preference categories of employment-based immigrants are classified as the following:
E1 – Priority Workers (First Preference). These individuals have (a) “extraordinary abilities” in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics. It also includes (b) outstanding professors or researchers who are recognized internationally as outstanding in their academic field. This option is also open to (c) multinational managers or executives.
E2 – Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees (or equivalent) or those of Exceptional Ability (Second Preference).
E3 – Skilled Workers and Professionals Holding Baccalaureate Degrees, and “Other Workers” (Third Preference).
E4 – Special Immigrants (Fourth Preference). These individuals include religious workers, certain U.S. government employees, and certain foreign medical graduates.
E5 – Employment-Creation / Investors (Fifth Preference). Investors may qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS. For a petition filed on or after 11/21/19, the minimum investment is $1.8 million for a high-employment location.
The Act allocates 140,000 employment-based visas per year. 28.6% of the 140,000 total visa numbers (40,000) are allocated to each of the first three preference categories and 7.1% of the 140,000 total (10,000) are designated for each of the last two preferences. The American Competitions in the Twenty First Century Act now provides that if, in a calendar quarter, there are more visas available in all the employment-based preferences than the number of qualified individuals who may be issued such visas, then, the visas may be made available without regard to country of origin of the per-country ceilings for employment-based first, second, and third preference cases.
Please contact one of our attorneys if you would like more information about how to apply for an employment-based immigrant visa under one of these five preference categories.
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