A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL), also called a Prevailing Wage Determination is the first step taken by an employer in hiring a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a certified Prevailing Wage Determination from the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants.
Employment First Preference (E1): Priority Workers
A First Preference applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker, Form I-140, filed with USCIS. Labor certification is not required for any of the Priority Worker subgroups.
There are three sub-groups within this category:
- Persons with extraordinary ability
- Outstanding professors and researchers
- Multinational managers or executives
Employment Second Preference (E2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
A Second Preference applicant must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor. A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, on behalf of the applicant. Applicants may apply for an exemption from the job offer and labor certification, known as a National Interest Waiver, if the exemption would be in the “national interest.”
There are two subgroups within this category:
- Professionals holding an advanced degree
- Persons with exceptional ability
Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
A Third Preference applicant must have an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, filed by the prospective employer. All such workers generally require labor certification approved by the Department of Labor.
There are three subgroups within this category:
- Skilled workers
- Unskilled workers (Other workers)
There are two other EB categories for special immigrants and investors but the majority of the employment-based visas are given to applicants who apply to the above categories.
At Buhler Thomas Law, P.C., our Provo green card lawyer has more than 25 years of experience guiding both individuals and businesses through a wide variety of immigration matters. The most important factor is to plan ahead and consult with your attorney at each stage of the process.
Because immigration law is governed by federal law, we can provide legal services to clients domestically and internationally. Contact us today.