The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.
Employment-based US green card petition
For applicants without a qualified or eligible family member in the U.S. getting a green card is still possible through the Employment based (EB) categories. The current visa allocation for EB visas is 140,000 a year. The yearly total is distributed among five categories.
EB1 Priority Workers: 40,000 or 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required or used in the EB4 and EB5 preferences.
EB2: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 40,000 or 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required or used by the EB1 preference.
EB3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".
EB 4: Certain Special Immigrants and Religious Workers: 10,000 or 7.1% of the worldwide level.
EB5: Employment Creation:/ Immigrant Investors with a minimum of $500,000 to invest or had invested in the U.S. Allocation is 10,000 or 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers.
Employers Needed, or Not
The EB1 is further subdivided into
EB 2- For members of the professions holding an advanced degree or an alien with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. A job offer may not be required if the practice of the applicant’s profession will be to the national interest of the United States.
EB3 – Unless the job offer is for an occupation that is listed in the U.S.’ Shortage Occupations, a U.S. employer must first obtain a permanent labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL requires the US employer to prove that it has conducted recruitment efforts but was not successful in getting qualified U.S. citizens, permanent residents or those authorized to work for the job being offered to a foreign worker.
This permanent labor certification applies to employers seeking to sponsor a professional, skilled worker or Other Workers (OW).
EB4 – Special immigrants including Religious Workers and Physicians. Instead of the I-140 form, the applicant uses Form I-360.
EB5 – Green card for immigrant investors - foreign nationals who have invested or are actively in the process of investing $1 million (or $500,000 in targeted employment areas) in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time positions for qualifying employees. These foreign nationals are also called “EB-5 immigrant investors” because they are in the employment-based fifth preference visa category.
EB Petitions filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
An employer sponsoring an EB1, EB2 or EB3 worker files the I-140 petition form with the current and applicable USCIS office. Special immigrant applicants use the Form I-360. Immigrant Investors use the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
Upon receipt of a complete petition package, the USCIS issues a Notice of Receipt. The receipt notice is also called the “Filing Date” or more appropriately, the Priority Date. A USCIS receipt number is assigned. The USCIS may request for more evidence before making a decision either a refusal or approval. Once the petition is approved, the file is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for archiving or processing.
A petition is archived if the priority date is not yet current. A petition becomes current if there are sufficient visas available for the country where the applicant is a national of. This is called the per-country allocation and foreign state chargeability.
Visa Processing and Issuance.
Each visa issued is deducted from a country’s yearly allocation (set at 25,620). The actual visas issued to each foreign national is dependent on whether unused visas in any EB category is returned to the visa pool for reallocation.
For Fiscal Year 2019, the per country allocation was set at 25,754. The fiscal year is the accounting period for the US federal government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2019 begins on October 1, 2018 and ends on September 30, 2019.
Two charts for visa applicants
For Fiscal Year 20165 (which starts October 1, 2015) the State Department issues two charts: the Final Date and the Date of Filing charts. The Final Date chart refers to priority dates that are current i.e., visas are available. The Filing Date chart simply means that the applicant may start visa processing so that when his or her priority date becomes current, the applicant may then proceed to the consular interview.
Visa Interview or Adjustment of Status
Unlike the Family-sponsored immigrants, EB 1-EB3 applicants are not required to submit an Affidavit of Support. Instead, the applicant must present evidence of continuing offer of employment from the sponsoring employer.
Substitute petitioner/employer. In contrast to the Family-based categories, however, the “death“ of a petition may be revived by another employer (“successor in interest)” provided the requirements for the specific EB preference category remain the same.
If the applicant is in the U.S, he or she may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status from another visa category. Caution: the beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition who entered or was admitted into the U.S. in another category, e.g., a nonimmigrant B-1/B-2 visitor visa, student or work visa should carefully determine if he or she would want to apply for a visa instead of applying for adjustment of status.
Leaving the US during a period of lawful presence (as a student, as long he or she is maintaining or pursuing studies for the academic program usually termed “duration of status or D/S” ) does not guarantee visa issuance.
EB applicants who indicate that they will apply for the visa at a specified consular post and has not accrued any period of unlawful presence or left the U.S. in a valid nonimmigrant category would have to apply and obtain the immigrant visa after successfully passing the consular interview.
Authors & Contributors
Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.
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