Employment-Based Visas in Charlotte
Skilled Charlotte Immigration Lawyer
Employers can file petitions for certain workers, either for an
non-immigrant visa. Immigrant employment visas allow the foreign national to become a permanent
resident, after which they can work for any employer, in any capacity.
Non-immigrant employment visas, however, are tied to a specific employer
and are available only for certain jobs.
E1 and E2 non-immigrant visas are available only to nationals of certain
countries with which the United States has a qualified treaty. E1 visas
are for companies that will be engaging in trade with the foreign company,
whereas E2 visas are for employers seeking to make a substantial investment
in a U.S. business.
Of these visas, the E2 is the most common. The E2 applicant may be the
owner of the company or the employee of an E2 employer owned company.
E2 visas for new companies are initially granted for one year; renewals
are issued for two years. Unlike other non-immigrant employment visas,
there is no limit to the amount of time an individual can hold E visa status.
The H-1B is probably the most well-known non-immigrant employment visa.
Generally, the job to be filled must be in a professional area and require
at least a bachelor’s degree, and the applicant must meet that requirement.
The employer must make several attestations, including that it will pay
the H-1B employee the prevailing wage for the occupation. Foreign nationals
from any country are eligible to apply for an H-1B visa, but the U.S.
only issues a limited number of these visas each year. In recent years,
65,000 H-1Bs have been available per year with an additional 20,000 available
to those with a master’s degree.
Generally, an H-1B is issued for three years and can be renewed for an
additional three years. Under limited situations, the H-1B can be extended
beyond six years. Unlike most non-immigrant visas, the H-1B is a dual
intent visa, meaning that the foreign national can intend to apply for
The H-2A visa allows an alien to enter the United States to perform seasonal
agricultural work. The H-2B visa allows an alien to enter the United States
to perform seasonal non-agricultural work.
L1 visas are for transferees from international companies. An international
company can seek an L1 for the purpose of transferring an employee to
an existing U.S. operation, or to open a U.S. branch of the company. There
is no certain dollar investment required, but both the U.S. and foreign
country must continue to be operational. L1A visas are for executives
and managers. L1B visas are for workers with specialized knowledge. An
individual can remain in L1A status for a maximum of 7 years, whereas
an L1B holder is limited to five years.
Unlike the H-1B, there is no annual cap on the number of L1 visas issued.
Like the H-1B, however, the L1 visa-holder is allowed to have dual intent
and is not required to show that he intends to return to his country of origin.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
Workers whose skills are needed in this country may be able to obtain a
green card through an employer petition. For most employment categories
the employer is required to go through a lengthy labor certification process
whereby the employer advertises and recruits for the position and documents
that there is no qualified U.S. worker willing and able to fill the position.
The following categories of employment visas are available.
First Preference (EB-1) - This preference category includes 3 subcategories, none of which require
- Persons of extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business,
or athletics as demonstrated by achieving national or international acclaim.
- Outstanding professors and researchers with international recognition
- Multinational executives or managers being transferred to a U.S. location
Second Preference (EB-2) - Advanced degree professionals with exceptional ability in science, art
or business. Labor certification or national interest waiver required.
Third Preference (EB-3) - This preference category includes professionals with a baccalaureate
degree, skilled workers with at least two years' training or work
experience, and "other workers" for positions that require less
than two years' training. Labor certification is required for all
Fourth Preference (EB-4) - Special immigrant visas - includes religious workers and various other
Fifth Preference (EB-5) - Employment creation/investor visas - Available to aliens who invest $1
million dollars in a new business that employs at least ten full-time
American workers. A smaller investment of $500,000 may be allowed if the
business is located in an approved rural area. This visa is conditional
for two years, but becomes permanent upon removal of the conditions.
Prior to filing most employment-based immigrant visa petitions, the employer
must demonstrate that hiring the foreign worker will not adversely affect
U.S. workers. This involves multiple steps.
First, the employer must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the
National Prevailing Wage Center. The prevailing wage is the average pay
workers in a specific job are paid in a given geographical area. The employer
must then take several specified recruitment and notification steps and
document its inability to find a qualified U.S. worker.
If the employer was unable to find a qualified U.S. worker after completing
all recruitment steps, the employer then files for labor certification
with the Department of Labor. Only after the labor certification is approved
may an employer file an immigrant visa petition with USCIS.