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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:
2019 January Visa Bulletin Read more

Types of employment visas employers might find beneficial

Some individuals who come into the United States do so on an employment visa, which is sponsored by an employer. When employers want to get workers here via one of these visas, they must know a bit about the options that fall under this category.

As an employer, you have several things that you have to do in order to make it possible to bring talent in to work here from another country. All employment visas are categorized into five preferences, each denoted by E followed by a number. Some of these have subcategories within the preference.

Labor certification

Before you are able to bring employees in from other countries, you need to take the steps necessary to get a labor certification from the Department of Labor. After you receive this, you file a Form I-140, which is the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker form. You will have to designate your preference category in this petition.

Preference categories

The five preference categories each include a specific group of workers. Thinking of the type of work and the specifics of the potential workers can help you to determine which is the appropriate one for your company.

  • E1: Employment First Preference: This has three subcategories – persons with extraordinary abilities in athletics, education, business, arts or the sciences; outstanding researchers and professors who are internationally recognized and have three years of experience; and multinational executives and managers who have specific experience with the employer.
  • E2: Employment Second Preference: There are two subcategories in this designation – persons with exceptional ability in business, the sciences or arts; and professionals who have an advanced degree beyond a baccalaureate, or who have a baccalaureate and progressive experience in the field for at least five years.
  • E3: Employment Third Preference: There are three subcategories in this group – unskilled workers that aren't seasonal or temporary; skilled workers who aren't temporary or seasonal; and professionals who have at least a baccalaureate degree.
  • E4: Employment Fourth Preference: There are 19 subcategories in this group.
    • Certain religious workers
    • Beneficiaries of labor certification petitions impacted by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
    • Certain retired NATO-6 civilians
    • Certain unmarried daughters or sons of NATO-6 civilians
    • Certain spouses of deceased NATO-6 civilian employees
    • Foreigners who served or enlisted in a branch of the U.S. military
    • Certain immigrant juveniles
    • Certain medical graduates
    • Specific retired international organization employees
    • Certain spouses of deceased IOEs
    • Certain unmarried daughters and sons of IOEs
    • Nationals from Afghanistan or Iraq who meet specific requirements of U.S. government employment
    • Interpreters and translators from Iraq or Afghanistan who meet specific work requirements with the U.S. military or Chief of Missions
    • Former employees of the Canal Zone Government or Panama Canal Company who meet requirements
    • Former employees of the U.S. government who worked in the Panama Canal Zone who meet specific requirements
    • Some former employees of the Canal Zone Government or Panama Canal Company who were employed on April 1, 1979
    • Ministers of religion
    • Broadcasters working for the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and some grantees of the organization
    • Specific current or former employees of the U.S. government who worked or are working abroad
  • E5: Employment Fifth Preference: This covers visas for foreigners who are making capital investments that create jobs in this country.

There are annual limits for the number of employment visas that are issued each year. The fiscal year for these runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 of each year. Around 140,000 of these visas are issued in this country each year. Visas are issued in chronological order based on the filing date of the petition, so getting a petition in as soon as possible is imperative since this might reduce the waiting time you have before an employee can come into the country.

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