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EB-3, Skilled Workers, Professionals & Others

Employment-Based Immigrant Visas (Permanent Resident Status)

Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers: EB-3

In this category there are three types of foreign nationals who may be eligible for U.S. permanent residence based on their employment in the U.S. All three types require a job offer and a labor certification by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), apart from Schedule A occupations. No labor certification application is required for Schedule A occupations because they have already been deemed to be shortage occupations (i.e., not enough U.S. workers). Currently, there are only two Schedule A occupations: nurses and physical therapists.

Skilled Workers: The first group includes individuals who have a minimum of two years of training or experience. Post-secondary education counts as training. Schedule A occupations fall into this category.

Professionals: The second group includes individuals who possess a baccalaureate degree, or the foreign equivalent, and a baccalaureate degree is required for the job. If the foreign national does not have a baccalaureate degree or the foreign equivalent, a credentials evaluation can be obtained in order to determine if he or she has the experiential equivalent or the equivalent based on a combination of education and work experience.

Unskilled Workers: The third group is unskilled workers and is limited by number.

Immigrant Visa Number Backlog

There is currently a backlog for immigrant visa numbers for all groups in the EB-3 preference category. The length of time a visa applicant must wait depends on his or her country of birth. As of April 2011, the wait for an immigrant visa number for an applicant in the first and second groups, who was born in India, is approximately 8 years. For applicants in those same two groups, who were born in China, the wait is just under 7 years. If the applicant was born in Mexico, he or she could expect to wait nearly 7 years. All other applicants in those two groups have a wait of just under 6 years. Applicants in the third group (unskilled workers, also known as other workers), who were born in India, have a wait time of 9 years. Unskilled workers from China have a wait time of 8 years. All other unskilled workers must wait just under 8 years. Priority dates in the EB-3 preference category are established when either the labor certification application is filed with the DOL. Immigrant visa numbers are available for applicants with priority dates before the cut-off date published in the Visa Bulletin each month. Cut-off dates change monthly based on the Department of State’s expectation of visa number usage. Thus, the amount of time an applicant must wait may change from month to month.

Premium Processing

On August 28, 2006, the USCIS began accepting Premium Processing requests for EB-3 Skilled Worker petitions and EB-3 Professional petitions. On September 25, 2006, the USCIS began accepting Premium Processing request for EB-3 Unskilled Worker petitions. Under the Premium Processing Service, the USCIS guarantees that, for an extra $1,225 processing fee, it will issue either an approval notice, a notice of intent to deny, or a request for evidence or it will open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation, within 15 calendar days from the date it receives the petition. If the petition is not processed within 15 calendar days, the USCIS will refund the $1,225 fee and continue to process the request as part of the Premium Processing Service.

How We Can Help You:

At Ferman Law, we discuss with our clients the feasibility and type of petition which is appropriate. We prepare the required forms and assist our clients with the collection of the extensive supporting documentation. Once all of the supporting documentation has been collected, we file our clients’ petitions with either the USCIS Nebraska Service Center or the USCIS Texas Service Center. Thereafter we prepare our clients’ immigrant visa applications or applications for adjustment of status. An immigrant visa application includes a medical examination by a physician approved by the U.S. Embassy and a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy. An application for adjustment of status includes a medical examination. Ordinarily, the requirement for a personal interview at the USCIS is waived when the application for adjustment of status is based on employment.