Sponsorship from a company that intends to hire someone from another country is one of the main ways non-citizens can legally immigrate to the United States. However, applying for an immigrant visa and Legal Permanent Resident status based on a job offer works differently depending on your background and qualifications—as can the responsibilities the sponsoring employer might have regarding their prospective employee.
Making sense of the rules and regulations enforced by U.S. Immigration Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) on this process could be much easier with support from a dedicated Atlanta employment-based immigration lawyer. Whether you are a worker seeking permanent residence or a company looking to hire from abroad, a diligent and experienced immigration attorney could help maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.
USCIS makes nearly 140,000 total employment-based immigrant visas available each fiscal year. The organization processes visa applications in a specific order based on the type of worker applying. For example, the first preference—or the E1 category for employment visas—goes to people with “extraordinary ability” in their chosen field, profession, or athletic or artistic pursuit. Applications are also prioritized for managers and executives within multinational corporations and internationally recognized academics pursuing tenure or a comparable research position at an American college or university.
The second preference—E2—goes to people with “exceptional ability” in their field(s) and individuals with advanced degrees or substantial experience in their profession. Unlike E1 applicants who can act as their own sponsors for visas, E2 applicants must have been offered a job by an employer willing to sponsor them.
Finally, the third preference—E3—visas are split across three subgroups of applicants in the following priority order: skilled workers with offers for work requiring at least two years of training or prior experience, professionals with offers for employment that requires a baccalaureate degree or equivalent, and unskilled workers. Certain workers may fall into the fourth preference—E4—category as special immigrants. Likewise, immigrant investors have special regulations as fifth preference—E5—applicants. To learn more about employment-based immigration options, speak with a knowledgeable attorney in Atlanta.
With exceptions for E1 and E5 applicants, all employment-based immigrant visa applicants must have an employer make them a job offer and initiate the application process via a Form I-140. In addition, for E2 and E3 applicants, prospective sponsors must file a labor certification with the Department of Labor to affirm that no U.S. citizen could reasonably fill the position given the necessary qualifications.
Sponsoring employers must pay sponsored workers prevailing wages for the positions of comparable workers in the same area. These payments must be determined by submitting a prevailing wage request to the DOL. A company may also be subjected to various obligations to ensure an employee is not a burden on state-sponsored assistance programs. A tenacious lawyer in Atlanta is familiar with the requirements that job-based immigration sponsors must meet and can explain these in further detail during a consultation.
Coming to the U.S. as an immigrant worker and sponsoring someone else’s employment are both complicated endeavors. No matter your situation, having knowledgeable legal counsel help could ensure you get the best resolution possible.
A conversation with an Atlanta employment-based immigration lawyer could answer any questions or concerns you have. Call today to schedule a meeting.