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SKILLED WORKERS, PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER WORKERS (EB-3)

NURSES

 

Sponsoring A Nurse As Immigrant

Since professional nurses (also called Registered Nurses) are in a pre-certified shortage, or “Schedule A”, occupation, they do not have to undergo the cumbersome labor certification process. They qualify for employment-based 3rd preference (EB-3) as skilled worker or professional. Registered nurses may also qualify under the employment-based 2nd preference (EB-2) if they have an advanced degree (degree higher than a bachelor’s degree), or under 1st preference (EB-1), if they are outstanding professors or researchers. The waiting time for an immigrant visa in the EB-3 category is greater than EB-2, while in EB-1 there is no visa backlog at all.

The immigration process begins with the filing of an I-140 petition at the USCIS Service Center that has jurisdiction over the intended place of employment. The employer may be a hospital, a nursing home, a medical clinic, a nursing service provider or any healthcare facility.

The following documents must be included in the petition:

1. An uncertified Form ETA-9089, in duplicate, signed in the original by an authorized official of the petitioning organization, the alien, and the representative, if any;

2. Prevailing Wage Determination (ETA 9141) issued by the National Prevailing Wage Center;

3. A copy of the notice sent to applicable collective bargaining unit or a copy of the posted notice (must be posted for at least 10 consecutive business days at the place of employment between 30 and 180 days prior to the filing of the Form I-140 petition);

4. Copies of any and all in-house media, whether electronic or printed, in accordance with the normal procedures used for the recruitment of similar positions to the position specified in the Form 9089 in the employer’s organization;

5. A full unrestricted permanent license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment or CGFNS certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or evidence that the alien has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing;

6. Nursing diploma or degree;

7. Nursing registration from the country where the nurse received his/her nursing education;

8. Proof of prospective employer’s ability to pay wage (for an employer with 100 or more employees, a letter from a financial officer; if employees total to less than 100, a copy of annual reports, federal tax returns, or validated financial statements); and

9. Evidence of an agreement for nursing services between the petitioner and healthcare facility where the nurse is destined to work if the I-140 petition is filed by a nursing service provider and not the actual healthcare facility.

A nurse who has been petitioned by an employer may be petitioned by a subsequent employer. A nurse who is the beneficiary of multiple petitions is entitled to the priority date of the first petition. A priority date is the date the INS received the completed I-140 petition with the filing fee. The I-140 petition may be filed concurrently with the adjustment of status if the nurse is in the U.S. and the priority date is current. However, if the nurse is abroad, he/she may apply for immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate. The VisaScreen certificate is required before the adjustment application is approved or before the immigrant visa is granted.

 

CGFNS Certificate

To obtain the CGFNS certificate, the nurse has to complete a three-part certification program: the credentials review, a one-day qualifying exam on nursing knowledge, and an English language proficiency examination. The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), which administers the program, is located at 3600 Market St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19104, and telephone number (215) 349 8767. Its website is http://www.cgfns.org/.

The CGFNS certification program begins with the CGFNS’s assessment of an applicant’s education and credentials to determine if the applicant satisfies all the registration requirements to be a licensed professional in the field. In compliance with said requirements, the nurse must have:

1. completed high school;

2. graduated from a government-approved nursing program of at least two years;

3. received theoretical instruction and clinical practice in nursing care in various areas;

4. been issued a full and unrestricted license or registration to practice as a first-level, general nurse in the country where the general nursing education was completed;

5. been issued a current license or registration as first-level, general nurse.

Note that all transcripts and validations must be issued directly by source agencies.

The Qualifying Exam, which is a gauge of an applicant’s theoretical and practical nursing knowledge, is given thrice a year at more than 40 sites worldwide. The English language proficiency exam measures an applicant’s English Language proficiency. The exam determines comprehension, listening, reading comprehension, and structure and written expression.

Applicants may take any of the following three English proficiency examinations as part of the Certification Program:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Passing Score: 540 (paper/pencil version) or 207 (computerized version)or 83 (total for internet-based test, with a score of at least 26 for Speaking)

  • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), administered by ETS

Passing Score: 725

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS),administered by the Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP Education Australia

Passing Score: 6.5 Overall (Academic Module)

For English language proficiency scores to be valid, they must not be more than two years old and applicants must pass both English and the Qualifying Exam within a two-year time frame.

Applicants may contact directly any of the following institutions in order to schedule an examination date:

TOEFL TOEIC IELTS
Website: www.ets.org Educational Testing Service (ETS) IELTS Administrator, Cambridge
Examinations & IELTS International
Educational Testing Service (ETS) Rosedale Road, MS 10-P 100 East Corson Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541 Pasadena, CA 91103
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 Telephone: (609) 734-1540 Telephone: (626) 564-2954
Telephone: (609) 771-7100 Fax: (609) 734-1560 Email: ielts@ceii.org
Email: toeic@ets.org Website: www.ielts.org
Website: www.toeic.com

Exempt from the English language proficiency requirement are applicants who meetall of the criteria below:

1. Native language is English;

2. Country of nursing education was Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K.;

3. Language of instruction was English; and,

4. Language of textbooks was English

 

The VisaScreen Certificate

The VisaScreen certificate requirement was imposed by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. It is required of those applying for non-immigrant visas or permanent residency. The VisaScreen program consists of three parts: (1) education analysis; (2) licensure validation; and (3) English language proficiency assessment. The International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP), which conducts the program, holds office at 3600 Market St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19104 and its telephone number is (215) 349 8767.

Educational requirements of the VisaScreen program are:

1. Successful completion of a high school education;

2. Graduation from a government-approved nursing program of at least two years in length; and,

3. Successful completion of minimum number credit hours in specific theoretical and clinical areas during their professional program

In the case of foreign educated nurses, the following documents must be sent directly by the issuing authority to ICHP:

1. Validation of initial registration or licensure in the country where the applicant completed his or her professional education; and,

2. Validation of all current and previous professional registration or licenses

Note that for the purpose of meeting the English language proficiency requirements, the nurse must present passing scores in any of the following tests:

OPTION #1 OPTION #2 OPTION #3
TOEFL TWE TSE TOEIC TWE TSE IELTS IELTS
Test of English as a Foreign Language Test of Written English Test of Spoken English Test of English for International Communication Test of Written English Test of Spoken English International English Language Testing System Spoken Band

Applicants who meet all of the following criteria may be exempt from the English language proficiency requirement:

1. Country of professional education was Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, U.K. or U.S.;

2. Language of instruction was English; and,

3. Language of textbooks was English

Foreign-educated nurses aspiring to practice as a registered nurse in the U.S. must likewise submit one of the following:

  1. CGFNS Certificate
  2. Passing score on the U.S. registered nurse licensure (NCLEX-RN) examination

Note that Foreign Nurses who graduated from a college in the U.S. still need to apply for a VisaScreen certificate if they are applying for a visa.

 

Sponsoring A Nurse As Nonimmigrant

H-1B Specialty Occupation

Nurses may enter the U.S. under an H-1B visa if the prospective employer can establish that the position is a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one that requires as a minimum for entry the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

The USCIS has maintained that professional nursing is not a specialty occupation because only a two-year associate degree, and not a four-year bachelor’s degree, is required for entry. An RN license in the state of intended employment and visa screen certificate are also required.

For a position to be eligible for H-1B, the employer must prove that:

a. it has normally required the services of an individual holding a bachelor’s or higher degree for the proposed nursing position;

b. the services of individuals holding a bachelor’s or higher degree for similar positions is required in other facilities; and,

c. the proposed nursing position is a specialty occupation because the duties are complex and specialized

Some facilities have been able to obtain H-1B approval for the following positions: Care Plan Coordinator, Rehab Professional/Charge Registered Nurse, or Unit Management-Supervisor. The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) has also held that a team leader/nurse position satisfies the definition of specialty occupation. The nurse in this case performed patient care and general management of the nursing unit, training, assigning and overseeing professional and nonprofessional personnel assigned to the unit. The AAO stated that the position was comparable to that of a health service manager, which commonly required clinical experience as well as a baccalaureate or higher degree in a specialized or related area.

The following positions may satisfy the H-1B requirement:

1. Nursing positions that require advance practice certification such as clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse anesthetist, and certified nurse practitioner;

2. Nursing specialties that require a higher degree of knowledge and skill than a typical RN such as those who possess additional experience in certain areas (i.e., school health, occupational health, rehabilitation nursing, emergency room nursing, critical care, operating room, oncology and pediatrics.)

3. Upper level nurse managers and nursing services administrators.

H-1B petitions are usually approved for three years and can be extended for another three. The petition (Form I-129) is filed with the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the intended place of employment and must be accompanied by the I-129 supplement and H-1B data collection supplement, a copy of a certified labor condition application, an employer’s letter of support, supporting documents that include VisaScreen Certificate, RN license in the state of intended employment, and BSN diploma. The labor condition application must state among others that the employer will pay the prevailing wage for the occupation. The nurse may be accompanied by the spouse and unmarried children under 21 under H-4 status.

 

Other Visa Options

Nurses who are Canadian citizens may enter the U.S. with a TN visa under NAFTA and can apply for the TN visa at the port of entry. The TN visa is valid for one year but may be renewed every year. There is no limit on the number of years that the TN nurse can stay as nonimmigrant in the U.S. Canadian citizenship, not birth in Canada, is required, but the nursing education must have been received in Canada or the U.S.

Under certain conditions, employers may hire nurses as exchange visitors (J-1), by way of a program approved by the Department of State Exchange Visitor program. They may also participate in cultural exchange programs for a period of up to 15 months and be given a “Q” visa. Alternatively, they can apply as a trainee under H-3 visas. These visas, however, have strict criteria that are difficult to meet.

 

 

PHYSICAL THERAPIST

 

Nonimmigrant Visa Options for Physical Therapists

Physical therapists may work in the US under the H-1B visa for nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations. Unlike nursing, physical therapy is considered a specialty occupation that qualifies the worker for an H-1B visa because the minimum requirement for the occupation is at least a bachelor’s degree.

A foreign physical therapist must show that she is licensed to practice her profession in the state of intended employment, or that the only thing that keeps her from obtaining such license is the lack of a visa.

To obtain a physical therapy license the physical therapist must have:

1.    Graduated from a physical therapy program or school accredited by the applicable state board or the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which is part of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Foreign educated physical therapists must demonstrate that their education is “substantially equivalent” to a U.S. education, which means that it must be equivalent to the current first professional degree in physical therapy. In the United States, the minimum educational requirement to become a physical therapist is a master’s degree or higher from an accredited physical therapy program. Since 2003, only post-baccalaureate degrees have been accredited by CAPTE. As a result, foreign physical therapists must show that their education is substantially equivalent to a master’s degree in physical therapy. Those who do not meet this requirement may need to obtain a master’s degree or take additional courses to obtain CAPTE equivalency.

2.    Passed the National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The NPTE score is transferable from one state to another.

Foreign physical therapists who are not graduates of CAPTE-accredited schools are subject to additional requirements which vary from state to state, such as credentials evaluation, English language proficiency or a minimum number of hours of board-approved clinical practice. Most of the time, a satisfactory credentials evaluation, passing the NPTE and the English language proficiency tests are enough to qualify for a license.

Credential Evaluation

Several state boards acknowledge the following credentialing organizations: Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT); International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD or ICDEL); International Credentialing Associates, Inc. (ICA); International Education Research Foundation (IERF); International Education Consultants (IEC).

English Language Proficiency

Some states require the foreign physical therapist to pass an English language proficiency test, which could either be the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL), the Test of Spoken English (TSE), the Test of Written English (TWE) , the internet-based TOEFL, or a combination of these

The physical therapist must meet the following minimum scores:

TOEFL 560 (paper/pencil), 220 (computerized)

TWE 4.5

TSE 50

TOEFL iBT 89 (at least 26 for Speaking component)

Clinical Practice

California, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia require a certain number of hours or a number of months of board-approved   clinical practice from foreign graduates.

Considering some states impose additional requirements on foreign graduates, many opt to apply for license in one state first and relocate to another through endorsement or reciprocity. Since the NPTE results are transferable, an applicant need not take a licensing exam if she passed it before in another state.

At times, foreign physical therapists want to transfer employers, which is allowed under H-1B. However, if the new employment is in a different state, they must first obtain the necessary license before the transfer is allowed. Licensure by endorsement is permitted between states that have similar licensing requirements. It is also allowed by a state if the other which issued the license likewise recognizes the license issued by the first state, under the principle of reciprocity.

Some states allow the issuance of a temporary license or permit to the foreign physical therapist upon submission of her foreign educational credentials to the state therapy board before the processing of the H-1B   petition. She may then enter the US after obtaining an H-1B visa and then take the state licensing exam after which she can have her H-1B visa renewed.

As noted, H-1B petitions are usually approved for three years and can be extended for another three. The petition (Form I-129) is filed with the USCIS   Service Center with jurisdiction over the intended place of employment and must be accompanied by the H Classification Supplement and the H-1B Data Collection Supplement, a copy of a certified labor condition application (LCA), an employer’s letter of support, supporting documents that include license in the state of intended employment, and diploma.  The LCA must state among others that the employer will pay the prevailing wage for the occupation. A VisaScreen certificate is required.

If the worker obtained a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution, she is exempt from the regular H-1B cap of 65,000. The petition may be filed under the separate advanced degree quota for which 20,000 numbers are allotted.

 

Immigrant Visa Options for a Physical Therapist

A foreign physical therapist may enter the US under an immigrant visa or green card. As with a registered nurse, a physical therapist belongs to the”Schedule A” occupations which means that she no longer has to go through the rather lengthy process of obtaining a labor certification before the employer can file the I-140 petition on her behalf.

A foreign physical therapist generally qualifies for employment-based 3rd preference (EB-3) as skilled worker or professional. If she has an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree, she may be sponsored under the employment-based 2nd preference (EB-2), which is usually less backlogged than EB-3. In some cases, a physical therapist may qualify for EB-2 classification if she has five years of progressive experience in addition to a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, if she is an outstanding professor or researcher, she may qualify as employment-based 1stpreference (EB-1) where there is no waiting line for a visa.

The employer files an I-140 petition on behalf of the foreign physical therapist with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over the intended place of employment.  The petition must be supported by the following documents:

  1. Application for Permanent Employment Certification (Form 9089) in duplicate;
  2. Prevailing wage determination
  3. A copy of the notice sent to applicable collective bargaining unit or a copy of the posted notice of filing and employment certification application (notice must be posted at the place of employment between 30 and 180 days prior to the filing of the FORM I-140 petition);
  4. Copy of all in-house media used for recruitment of similar position;
  5. Permanent license in the state of intended employment or statement signed by an authorized state of intended employment stating that the beneficiary is qualified to take the state’s licensing exam;
  6. Physical therapy diploma or degree; and
  7. Proof of prospective employer’s ability to pay wage (for an employer with 100 or more employees; a letter from a financial officer; if employees total less than 100, a copy of annual reports, federal tax returns or validated financial statements).

The physical therapist petitioned by an employer may be petitioned by a subsequent employer.  Such beneficiary of multiple petitions is entitled to the priority date of the first petition.  A priority date is the date the USCIS received the completed I-140 petition with the filing fee. The I-140 petition may be filed concurrently with the adjustment of status if the physical therapist is in the U.S. and the priority date is current. However, if the physical therapist is abroad, she may apply for immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate. The VisaScreen certificate is required before the adjustment application is approved on before the immigrant visa is granted.

 

TEACHERS

 

Nonimmigrant Options for Teachers

H-1B Visa for Teachers

The H-1B visa program allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to stay and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis. However, unlike other nonimmigrant categories, H-1B workers do not need to maintain a residence in their home country during their period of stay in the U.S. The H-1B visa is a “dual intent” visa and the worker may seek lawful permanent resident status.

A “specialty occupation” is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act as one that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum entry into the occupation in the U.S.

In order for the teacher to be eligible for an H-1B visa, the teaching position must be a specialty occupation, meaning that a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent must normally be the minimum requirement for the position.

The teacher must also have the education and meet the requirements for the specialty occupation, i.e. a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a higher degree or its foreign equivalent, or education, training or experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree. The teacher must obtain state licensure, if required for practice in the state, or documentation from the licensing board that the teacher has met all requirements for the license except for the possession of a visa or social security number.

The employer who wants to sponsor a foreign teacher for an H-1B visa must first obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor, which contains basic information about the proposed H-1B employment such as the salary, period of employment and work location. The employer will also make attestations in the LCA regarding the H-1B employee’s wages and working conditions, among others.

The foreign teacher may be admitted for an initial period of three years with an extension of up to three years, for a total of six years. An H-4 dependent visa is available for the spouse and unmarried children under 21 which authorizes stay in the U.S. but not employment.

The H-1B visa category is subject to a numerical cap of 65,000 visas every fiscal year. Filing for the fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30, begins on April 1or six months before the fiscal year start. A few years ago, the H-1B cap was exhausted in the first week of filing.

Not all H-1B petitions are subject to the cap, however. Workers hired by institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, or by a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization, are not subject to the cap.

The H-1B petition is filed by the employer on Form I-129. It is filed with the certified LCA, proof that the position qualifies as a specialty occupation, and evidence that the beneficiary teacher has the required degree and license to practice the occupation.

J-1 Visa for Teachers and Professors/Research Scholars

The J-1 visa is appropriate for a foreign national who comes to the U.S. temporarily for training, research or education, as a participant in an exchange visitor program.

In order to qualify for a J-1 visa, the foreign teacher must be sponsored by a designated teacher exchange program which will screen and select the teachers and monitor their stay in the United States.

Foreign teachers may qualify either as primary or secondary school Teachers or college or university Professors and Research Scholars.

A foreign national in the Teacher exchange program must teach full time at a primary or secondary accredited educational institution; meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last residence; and have a minimum of 3 years of experience. The Teacher can stay in the U.S. for a maximum of three years under this program.

The Professor category is appropriate for foreign nationals primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at postsecondary accredited educational institutions. Research Scholars covers those primarily conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with research projects at research institutions, research facilities and similar types of institutions. The maximum period of participation for Research Scholars and Professors has been increased from three years to five years.

Following completion of the exchange program, the J-1 visa holder must return to his/her home country for two years before they can transfer to an H or L nonimmigrant category or apply for permanent residence. If the two-year foreign residence requirement applies, a waiver is available under certain conditions.

A J-1 visa holder’s spouse is eligible for a J-2 visa which gives authorization to work in the U.S.

Other Nonimmigrant Categories

A foreign teacher pursuing education in the United States may be able to teach or obtain practical training on an F-1 visa. Extremely well-qualified individuals or those who possess extraordinary ability in the field of sciences, arts, education, business or athletics may qualify for an O-1 visa. Teachers may also come to the U.S. on an R-1 visa for temporary employment by a religious organization in a religious vocation or occupation.

Immigrant Visa Options for Teachers

Foreign teachers can qualify for a permanent residence under several employment-based green card categories.

FIRST PREFERENCE

Foreign nationals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or are outstanding professors and researchers may qualify for a green card under this category. The EB-1 category is for “priority workers” and the labor certification requirement does not apply to this preference. There is currently no waiting period for an immigrant visa under this category.

Extraordinary Ability Aliens

Teachers who have received national or international acclaim and can establish extraordinary ability may qualify for a green card under this category. There is no requirement for a labor certification. Neither is the worker required to have a job offer from a U.S. employer as long as the worker is entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which he or she has extraordinary ability.

The level of ability or expertise required indicates that the individual must be one of those few who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor. The foreign national must give proof of having won a major internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, or at least three of the following types of evidence:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence

  • Membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts

  • Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications

  • Evidence that the alien is a judge of the work of others in the field

  • Evidence of the alien’s original contributions of major significance to the field

  • Authorship of scholarly articles

  • Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases

  • Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation

  • Evidence that the alien commands a high salary in relation to others in the field

  • Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts

Outstanding Professors or Researchers

Professors or researchers may qualify under the EB-1 category if they are recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field and have at least three years of teaching or research experience in the field. Documentation of at least two of the following types of evidence must be submitted:

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement

  • Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement

  • Published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field

  • Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field

  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field

  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

While a labor certification is not required, the professor or researcher must have a job offer. The employer must offer the alien a tenured or tenure track teaching or research position in the alien’s field, as the case may be, or a research position having no fixed term and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of permanent employment.

For this category, the employer may be a university, institution of higher learning, or a department, division, or institute of a private employer if it employs at least three persons full-time in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field. It is also possible to offer a comparable position where the employer employs at least 3 full-time researchers and has demonstrated accomplishments in the research field.

SECOND PREFERENCE

Two types of workers are eligible for classification under the EB-2 category: exceptional ability aliens and advanced degree professionals. The EB-2 category is usually less backlogged than EB-3 except for nationals of some countries.

A labor certification is generally required. The I-140 petition is filed by an employer, unless the alien is seeking an exemption from the job offer requirement by filing for a national interest waiver. A National Interest Waiver is granted if it is determined that the exemption from the job offer and labor certification requirements would be in the interest of the United States.

Exceptional Ability Alien

Teachers with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business are those who have a degree of expertise above that ordinarily encountered in his or her field. At least three of the following types of evidence must be submitted:

  • Official academic record showing that the alien has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to  his area of exceptional ability

  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation

  • A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation

  • Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates his exceptional ability

  • Membership in a professional association(s)

  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to his industry or field by his peers, government entities, professional or business organizations

  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility

Advance Degree Professionals

The EB-2 category also includes teachers who are members of the professions and who hold advance degrees. An advance degree refers to any U.S. academic or professional degree, or a foreign equivalent, above a bachelor’s degree level. The position must require at a minimum a professional with an advanced degree.

Teachers with only a bachelor’s degree may still qualify for EB-2 classification if he or she has at least five years of progressive experience in the specialty. In such a case, the education and experience would be considered the equivalent of a master’s degree. Progressive experience refers to experience that reflects increasing levels of responsibility and knowledge in the specialty.

 

THIRD PREFERENCE

The EB-3 visa category is appropriate for professionals with only bachelor’s degrees in their fields. This category also includes skilled workers with at least two years of job experience or training, and unskilled workers for positions requiring less than 2 years of training or experience.

For teachers, both labor certification and a job offer from a U.S. employer are required. The EB-3 category is more backlogged than other employment-based categories.

The visa petition must be accompanied by proof that the foreign teacher has a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree and that the occupation requires the minimum of a bachelor’s degree for entry into the occupation.

DOMESTIC HELPERS

Many immigrants in the US find work as domestic workers: babysitters, nannies, cooks, house cleaners, personal servants, etc.

 There is a non-immigrant visa option and there is an immigrant visa option for domestic workers. The A3, G5 and B1 non-immigrant visas are meant for domestic workers, while an employer can petition a domestic worker for an immigrant visa under the EB3 other workers category (Employment-Based Third Preference).
The A3 category is for servants of foreign government officials, ambassadors, diplomatic and consular officers, while the G5 is for attendants of representatives of international organizations (such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, etc.)
Working as a domestic worker is one of the few types of activities outside the usual B1 visa (business visitor) criteria that is allowed. The B1 visa option is open to domestic workers of US citizens who have been living abroad but are returning temporarily to the US. The domestic worker should have started working for the citizen prior to the US visit.
 As for the immigrant visa option, the process involves three steps: first, obtaining a labor certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL); second, the application by the employer and approval of the Alien Worker Petition also referred to as the I-140 petition; and third, adjustment of status with the INS on the basis of the Labor Certification and the I-140.
 The Labor Certification is intended to determine whether there are no qualified and available workers in the position open to the foreign domestic worker. The prospective employer then files an Alien Worker Petition for the foreign worker with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the Immigration and naturalization Services).
 If the the domestic worker is in valid status, the I-140 petition and adjustment of status application may be filed concurrently if a visa number is available. A “Green Card” will eventually be granted to the domestic worker upon the fulfillment of the requirements.