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Working in the U.S.

How to apply for temporary or permanent employment in the United States of America.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on May 18, 2017; updated May 18, 2017

Working in the U.S.

Working in the U.S.

An individual admitted as an immigrant into the U.S. is authorized to work in the U.S., especially those who are the beneficiaries of a Family-sponsored visa petition.

Certain Employment-based immigrant visa holders are required to work for the specific employer or sponsor that filed the immigrant visa petition such as in the EB3 (3rd Preference employment-based category for skilled workers or professionals) or the OW - Other Workers category.

Ministers, on the other hand, may perform religious work in a full-time compensated position onl with the sponsoring religious organization.  For non-ministers, the date to apply for immigrant status under the program was scheduled to end on April 28, 2017.

Temporary workers in the U.S., however, must be sponsored by a qualified U.S. Employer after complying with the requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor.  Generally, the temporary workers in the H-1B or H-2B category may work only for the employer that filed the petition.

B-1 Business Visa. A person intending to work in the U.S. must be the beneficiary of a temporary work visa petition. An individual who intends to travel to the U.S. on business or occupation-related reason does not need an employer petition. He or she may apply for a B-1 visa, temporary visit for business.

Individuals already in the U.S. in certain nonimmigrant categories may also be authorized to work without the need for an employer sponsorship such as  E-1 Treaty Traders, E-2 Treaty Investors, E-3 and TN classifications, as well as, in certain instances, the F-1 (academic) and M-1 (vocational) student and J-1 exchange visitor classifications.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website lists the types of temporary work classifications:

Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Worker Classification

Nonimmigrant Classification for a Temporary Worker


Nonimmigrant Classification for Dependent Spouses and Children of a Temporary Worker


CNMI-Only transitional worker



 Treaty traders and qualified employees.



 Treaty investors and qualified employees.



 Long-term foreign investors in the CNMI



 Certain "specialty occupation" professionals from Australia.



The annual cap is 65,000 with an additional 20,000 for aliens with advanced degrees.  However, the expedited (premium processing) is currently on hold).

“Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification.” USCIS will notify the public when premium processing for H-1B petitions may resume.

 Workers in a specialty occupation and the following sub-classifications:

H-1B1 - Free Trade Agreement workers in a specialty occupation from Chile and Singapore.
H-1B2 - Specialty occupations related to Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development projects or Co-production projects.
H-1B3 - Fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.



 Registered nurses working in a health professional shortage area as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor (expired Dec. 20, 2009)



 Temporary or seasonal agricultural workers.



 Temporary non-agricultural workers. H-2B petitioners must first obtain valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or, if the workers will be employed on Guam, from the Guam Department of Labor (Guam DOL) – before an H-2B petition is filed.



 Trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children.



 Representatives of foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media.




 Intracompany transferees in managerial or executive positions.



 Intracompany transferees in positions utilizing specialized knowledge.



 Persons with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and motion picture or TV production.



 Persons accompanying solely to assist an O-1 nonimmigrant.



  Internationally recognized athletes.



 Internationally recognized entertainers or members of internationally recognized entertainment groups.



  Individual performer or part of a group entering to perform under a reciprocal exchange program.



 Artists or entertainers, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.



  Persons participating in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the alien's home country.

  Not Applicable4



 Religious workers.



 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) temporary professionals from Mexico and Canada.



Compliance with Philippine Labor Laws

Before applying for the specific temporary work visa, the Filipino worker must also comply with the requirements set by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Whether as a direct (name-hire) or being recruited through a licensed placement agency, the H-1B or H-2B visa applicant must submit documentation to the POEA to ensure that the job offer is genuine and has been accredited by the Philippine Overseas Labor Officer (POLO, Labor Attache) who has jurisdiction over the U.S employer’s place of business (where the work will be performed).

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are required to attend the POEA Pre-Employment seminar and must have their passports stamped evidencing their having completed and complied with the rules governing employment overseas.

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Please note that the Immigrant Visa Center, Inc. is not a licensed recruitment agency. This article is intended for informational purposes only and reflects the most current laws and regulations in place at time of writing. To avoid illegal recruitment, please contact the POEA to verify job orders and good standing of licensed agencies.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

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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