EB-2 & EB-3
EB-2 and EB-3 are the two employment based green card categories which require labor certification (except in the case of a Schedule A occupation, or a National Interest Waiver). For persons from certain countries (currently, India, China and the Philipines), being EB-2 and opposed to EB-3 is extremely important due to the difference in quota backlogs.
EB-3 classification includes: Professionals, Skilled Workers and “Other Workers.” “Professionals” are persons who are a member of the professions, and hold bachelor’s degrees. “Skilled Workers” are persons who are capable of performing skilled labor requiring at least two years of experience or training that is not seasonal or temporary. “Other Workers” are persons capable of performing unskilled labor which is not seasonal or temporary. Green cards for Other Workers are capped at 10,000 per year. As of May 2005, EB-3 for Other Workers is oversubscribed such that the backlog is over 4 years for persons from all countries. Professionals and Skilled workers are only oversubscribed for individuals from India, China and the Philipines For the most update to day information on visa availability, see the the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.
EB-2 eligibility is established by showing either that the individual is a professional holding an advanced degree or “equivalent”, or an “alien of exceptional ability.”
Professional Holding an Advanced Degree
An advanced degree is defined as “any United States academic or professional degree or a foreign equivalent degree above that of a [bachelors].” This definition includes most U.S. master’s degrees, doctorate degrees and graduate-level professional degrees (i.e., JD and MD). Foreign bachelor’s and master’s degrees, however, are not always considered equivalent to US degrees programs. Such degrees should therefore be professionally evaluated by an accredited foreign credentials evaluator prior to filing under the EB-2 classification.
EB-2 eligibility may also be established by showing that the individual has the equivalent of a U.S. master’s degree, which is strictly defined in the immigration regulations as: “a bachelors or foreign equivalent degree, followed by at least five years of progressive experience in the profession.”
It should be noted that for an EB-2 petition based on a labor certification, the individual must possess a Master’s degree, and the position offered must require a Master’s degree. Due to increasing restrictions on acceptable requirements under the new PERM labor certification program, it will be more difficult to show that positions in many occupations, inlcuding software engineering, and electrical engineering, require a Master’s degree.
Alien of Exceptional Ability
In order to establish EB-2 qualification based on “Exceptional Ability”, evidence of at least three of the following six items must be submitted:
- Academic records showing that the individual possesses a degree relating to the area of exceptional ability;
- Letters from current or former employer showing at least ten years of experience;
- License to practice his or her profession in the US;
- Evidence that the person has commanded a high salary or remuneration demonstrating exceptional ability;
- Membership in professional association(s); and,
- Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by his or her peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
Other comparable evidence may be submitted if the above categories are not applicable to the industry. Comparable evidence may include expert opinion letters.