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Employment Visas/Labor Certification:
Companies that need qualified workers, but are unable to find enough U.S. workers to fill those positions, can use the labor certification process to sponsor workers from other countries. In most cases, these workers have specific medical skills, technical ability and bilingual experience and work in occupations like engineering, medicine, teaching, computer science or research.
It is critical that each application is meticulously prepared, all deadlines are met, all references are verified, data is exact and everything documented is in accordance with all current laws. The types of immigration law work employees and employers may require can include, but is not limited to:
- PERM Application
- E-1/E-2 – Treaty Country Investor Visas
- EB1 – National Interest Waiver, Alien Of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professor Or Researcher, Multinational Executive
- EB2 – Member Of Profession Holding An Advanced Degree Or Alien Of Exceptional Ability
- EB3 – Skilled Worker Or Professional and Any Other Worker
- EB4 – Certain Special Immigrants, including Religious Workers
- EB5 – Immigrant Investor
- H-2A – Seasonal Worker Visas
- H-2B – Other Seasonal Work Visas
- L-1 – Inter-Company Transferees Visas
You should consult an attorney prior to petitioning the USCIS for entry under any such categories as there are numerous requirements and specific forms that must be filed in order to obtain employment related visas.
- E-1 Treaty Trader visas are provided to people who will enter the US solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the US and the foreign country of which the person is a national. Applications for E-1 visas are made directly to the US consulate and not through the USCIS, unless the applicant is in the US in another visa status and seeks to change to an E-1 visa. The maximum time limit on E-1 visas is five years but it is renewable.
- E-2 Treaty Investor visas are provided to people who will enter the US solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the traveler has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital. E-2 non-immigrant visas are available to foreign-owned businesses if the home country of the business owner has a treaty with the US that allows American businesses to operate in that home country. The maximum time limit on E-1 visas is five years but it is renewable.
- H-1B visas allow workers in specialty occupations to work in the US for up to a total of six years. A US employer makes an offer of employment to begin the petition process. The employer must ensure that the worker will be paid at least 95% of the prevailing wage paid to similarly employed workers in the geographic area where the foreign worker will be employed. Once this information is obtained, a Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be submitted to the US Department of Labor which is approved and returned to the employer to be submitted to the INS as part of the H-1B petition package. The USCIS will require documentation of the foreign worker’s qualifications, the employer’s type of business, and the type of work the beneficiary will be performing. The H-1B visa is employer-specific which means if the worker moves to a new employer after acquiring an H-1B visa he or she will need to go through a new H-1B approval process. The maximum authorized stay in the US under H-1B status is six years.
- R visas are sought by religious workers seeking to enter the US to pursue work in their field. The requirements are that the worker be a minister, or someone working in a professional capacity in a religious occupation or vocation, or a person who works for a religious organization or an affiliate in a religious occupation who has been a member of the religious group for at least the two years immediately preceding the application. The maximum stay in R-1 status is 5 years.
- O-1 visas are issued for temporary work purposes to those who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics demonstrated by national or international acclaim. You can cannot apply for an O visa as a foreigner and need to file your application through a US agent. The time limit on O-1 visas depends on the duration of the event for which you are admitted with a maximum of three years. However, an O visa may be extended in one-year increments for an indefinite period of time.
- TN visas were created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). They apply to Canadians and Mexicans only. A TN visa allows admission of those who will be engaged in activities at a professional level in the US. These activities are defined as those that require at least a bachelor’s degree or credentials and experience demonstrating that the person is a professional. Note that self-employment is not permissible on a TN visa. The TN is renewed indefinitely. It is also easier to obtain than an H-1B specifically for Canadians. Canadian citizens can obtain a TN visa at the border without having to wait for a long approval process.