If an alien does not have close relatives who are lawful permanent residents or United States citizens, has not received refugee status or political asylum, has not won the “diversity visa” lottery, or does not have $500,000 to $1,000,000 to invest, only one alternative is left: immigration through employment. This can be a lengthy, complex, and expensive process.
Employment-based immigrants who are eligible to immigrate subject to quota restrictions are classified into the following preference categories:
- Persons of extraordinary ability (EB-1A);
- Outstanding professors and researchers (EB-1B);
- Certain multinational executives and managers (EB-1C);
- Religious workers;
- Members of the professions holding advanced degrees (i.e., above a bachelor’s degree), or persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business (EB-2); and
- Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers (EB-3).
Qualified immigrants in one of the three EB-1, or “priority worker,” subcategories may immigrate to the U.S. without a test of the U.S. labor market. The EB-2 (with one exception) and EB-3 categories require an employer to demonstrate that there is a shortage of U.S. workers for a particular position by going through a process known as Application for Permanent Labor Certification, often referred to as “labor certification” or the PERM process.