A foreign national can get permanent residency based on employment, if certain conditions are met. In some circumstances, a foreign national may self-petition (without a sponsoring employer) based on the work he or she will do in the U.S. Most often, however, employment-based immigrant visas require a U.S. employer who is willing to complete and submit a PERM labor certification application with the Department of Labor and submit a visa petition to the Department of Homeland Security. Depending on the job offer and the educational and professional background of the foreign national, the visa may be subject to backlogs and long waits.
In general, there are five employment-based (EB) categories that help determine approximately if and how long an individual has to wait to immigrate based on employment in the U.S. The five categories are:
- EB-1 — Individuals with extraordinary ability in designated fields (EB-1A); certain outstanding professors and researchers (EB-1B); or some executives and managers (EB1-1C)
- EB-2 — Individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business; certain individuals whose work is in the national interest; and certain professionals with advanced degrees (beyond a bachelor’s degree) or a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of progressive experience in the field
- EB-3 — Skilled workers, professionals holding bachelor’s degrees and other workers
- EB-4 — Individuals designated under the immigration statute as “special immigrants”
- EB-5 — Investors who invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000 and create at least 10 new full-time jobs, among other requirements