Employment-Based Permanent Residence
Imagine a U.S. university selecting a foreign born scholar as the best qualified candidate for a tenured or tenure-track position after a competitive nationwide search and then not being able to retain the professor for more than a few years, or a multinational company hiring a highly skilled professional who advances in the organization and then needs to leave abruptly because of immigration restrictions.
We help clients gain permanent residence by following a carefully tailored strategy based on their positions, qualifications, and specialized expertise. The green card process starts with a labor certification application, continues with an employer-filed immigrant petition, and finishes with an application for adjustment of status or immigrant visa. Each step requires close coordination with U.S. employers and the employees they sponsor, maintaining temporary status while keeping the future job offer in place until the application process is successfully completed.
Required for employment-based permanent residence, the labor certification is intended to protect U.S. workers. Employers advertise for the position before applying to the Department of Labor for a determination that hiring a foreign national will not adversely affect job opportunities, wages, or working conditions in the job location. Employers certify that no qualified U.S. workers were interested and available for the advertised position. Individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers or professors, multinational executives, and those who qualify for national interest waivers are exempt from the labor certification requirement.
Employers file immigrant petitions for individuals with approved labor certification applications or exemptions to be classified in one of five employment-based preference categories, each limited by statutory quotas and the person’s country of birth:
- Priority (EB-1) – Extraordinary ability, outstanding professors/researchers, and multinational managers.
- Second Preference (EB-2) – Advanced degree professionals, individuals with exceptional ability, and national interest waivers for those who qualify.
- Third Preference (EB-3) – Professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers.
- Fourth Preference (EB-4) – Religious workers and special immigrants.
- Fifth Preference (EB-5) – Investors.
Adjustment of Status & Consular Processing
The final step for employment-based permanent residence is through an application for adjustment of status to permanent residence by the applicants and their immediate family members, who are eligible for the interim benefits of employment authorization and advance parole travel authorization. Consular processing through immigrant visa applications represents an alternative to adjustment of status for those applying from outside the U.S.