An Employment Green Card Petition as alternative of an H1b Visa
As you know, this year the process to apply for an H1B Visa has dramatically changed as we explained in our February Newsletter. Even though now is easier and inexpensive to participate in the H-1b visa lottery, this also means that more people will likely be applying for these visas, making it more difficult to be selected and obtain a visa because the number of H1B visas available remains the same.
So, what would be an alternative if the company where you work wants to sponsor you? An employment residency / Green Card petition, specially as wait times for employment Green Cards are significantly lower than in the past, for individuals from most countries (except for nationals of India and China). For example, an employee without a college degree would qualify for the EB3 employment residency category and according to the March 2020 Visa Bulletin, immigrant visas (Green Cards) for this category may be available upon completion of the LCA (Labor Condition Application) processing which is approximately 9-12 months.
There are several steps that an employer must take in order to sponsor an employee or prospective employee for residency. They include:
- Registering the sponsoring Company with the Department of Labor
- Requesting a prevailing wage for the job offered in location where the job will be performed
- Following the mandatory recruiting procedures to verify whether or not there are American workers available for the position
- Filling an LCA (Labor Condition Application) with the Department of Labor; and
- Upon approval of the LCA, filling an immigration visa petition for alien workers, form I-140, with USCIS to demonstrate the sponsoring company has the ability to pay the employee’s salary at the prevailing wage, and that the employee has the ability to do the job
An individual with a pending I-485 will generally receive work authorization and a travel and re-entry permit which allows them to work and travel while their Residency petition (Green Card) is pending.
While some residency categories have immigrant visas / Green Cards readily available, there are still USCIS processing times that have to be taken into consideration. The initial application and approval process for the initial step, the LCA, can generally take 9-12 months and the processing time for the I-140 petition can generally take 6-12 months.
It is important to note that after the LCA is approved, the employee oftentimes may be eligible for employment authorization independent of any visas status that they were holding. Also, your employer may start an employment residency petition before or at the same time that they apply for your H1B visa.
In the next video, our Boston Immigration Lawyer Desmond P. FitzGerald, explains how an individual may obtain a Green Card through employment, what the process is, who is eligible and what the requirements are.
In addition, in our website you can find the answers to some Employment Residency Frequently Asked Questions
If your employer is willing to sponsor you but, you do not want to leave your immigration process to the fate of a lottery that is now more difficult, call us now and schedule an initial consultation with one of our Green Card immigration lawyers at 617-303-2600
The FitzGerald Law Company Team