Immigration Law Firm

Third Preference Employment-Based Benefit for Professionals, Skilled, and Other Workers (EB-3)

The EB-3 category allows professionals, skilled workers, and "other workers" to obtain permanent residency in the United States based on a petition filed by the alien's U.S. employer.

General Requirements:

  • Professionals must have a baccalaureate degree (or its foreign equivalent) and be members of a profession.
  • Skilled workers are employed in jobs that require at least 2 years of training or work experience; relevant post-secondary education may be considered training.
  • The other workers category applies to foreign nationals that have less than two years of training and work experience.
  • All three third preference categories require labor certification. During this process, the petitioning employer must prove there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available for the alien's position, and the employment of the alien will not have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of similarly situated workers in the United States. However, the labor certification requirements vary for each category, particularly as to the recruitment efforts the employer must undergo before petitioning for a foreign worker.
  • Approximately 40,000 EB-3 visas are allocated each year, and each country's visa allocation is capped at 7% of the total allotment. The "other workers" category is subject to a quota of 10,000 visas per year. The EB-3 category demand greatly exceeds the supply of visa numbers, and aliens face significant wait times before they can immigrate or adjust status in the U.S.

Derivative Benefits:

  • The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the principal EB-3 alien to the United States. The spouse and unmarried children obtain permanent residence, are allowed to work in the United States and may apply to become citizens after five years.

Procedure:

  • The sponsoring employer must first file a labor certification application, supra petition for alien worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Then, the employee must file. The EB-3 applicant may not self-petition. The petitioner must show that it has the ability to pay the proper wage to the alien worker and that alien worker has the education experience to qualify for the job.
  • Upon approval of the petition, the alien will be eligible to either adjust status in the U.S. or apply for an immigrant visa at the appropriate consulate abroad, after the priority date becomes current. As of early 2014, wait times range from 1.5 to 10 years, depending on the alien's classification and country of origin.

Example:

After unsuccessfully attempting to locate a qualified individual for a computer systems analyst position, an IT company petitions on behalf of a qualified analyst from South Africa. After demonstrating that the company has undertaken the appropriate recruiting steps to fill the position and will pay the South African employee the prevailing wage, USCIS approves the petition. The alien may then immigrate once a visa becomes available.

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