What Are Preferences for Employment Visas - U.S. Immigration Lawyer

An employment-based immigrant visa may be available to you if you can work at a local company that has no U.S. workers to fill the position. However, it’s always best to consult with a Milwaukee immigration lawyer who understands the federal laws behind immigration processes to ensure that you’re getting the most up-to-date information and that you’re able to file the appropriate paperwork with the appropriate agencies.

What is an Employment-Based Immigration Visa?

An employment-based immigrant visa can be temporary or permanent, and it grants you the ability to work in the United States and its territories. But what are the categories of preference, and does one apply to you?

Categories of “Preference”

There are five classes of “preference” for employment-based immigration visas, but that’s a little misleading. They’re listed as numerical preferences, but there is no significance to the order they’re in. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for any of these, consult with an immigration attorney to find out.

First preference:

  • Aliens with extraordinary abilities. These people must possess extraordinary abilities in science, the arts, athletics, education or business. They must be nationally or internationally recognized for their achievements.
  • Outstanding professors and researchers. Internationally recognized professors and researchers are accepted in this category, but they must have at least three years of teaching or experience in their fields.
  • Some multinational executives and managers.

Second preference:

  • Advanced degree-holders and aliens of exceptional ability. This refers to people whose contributions will greatly benefit the national economy, the cultural or educational interests of the US, or the welfare of the country.

Third preference:

  • Skilled workers. This category describes people with a minimum of two years of training or experience.
  • Professionals. People with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent must show that the degree is required for entry into their profession.
  • Other workers. Unskilled laborers who have fewer than two years of training or experience can apply under this category.

Fourth preference:

  • Special immigrants. People who want to reacquire American citizenship, work in the religious field or fit in a handful of other very specific situations.

Fifth Preference:

  • Employment creation. People who invest $1 million in a new business that employs 10 or more full-time US citizens or permanent residents (and who are not related to the investor) can request this type of visa. In some circumstances, a $500,000 investment is acceptable.