Do you need to recruit foreign talent for your U.S. based business? The U.S. permits a number of green cards every year to be allotted to foreign workers for the purpose of filling domestic job openings under the EB-2 category. There are many Eb-2 green card benefits, which we’ll explore in depth throughout this article.
Some of these EB-2 green card benefits include lower qualifications for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) compared to the EB-1A visa, so it automatically makes it more accessible to more people because of those qualifications. Another EB-3 benefit is that you can skip the labor certification processing so both the green card application and National Interest Waiver can be filed at the same time.
EB-2 Green Card Benefits and Disadvantages
As mentioned before, one of the biggest EB-2 green card benefits is that the qualifications are less strenuous than other employment-based visas like the EB-1. The employment-based second preference category is designed for professionals who have advanced degrees or those with exceptional ability in business, the arts, or sciences.
To qualify for the second preference, you must have an LCA that’s approved by the Department of Labor (or schedule A designation) and/or demonstrate that you qualify for a position that’s of a shortage occupation within the Labor Market Information Pilot Program. You also need to have a job offer in place from a United States employer, and they have to file the petition on your behalf (as the applicant). In some cases, you can be exempt from this requirement if you are an alien and can demonstrate that it is in the national interest to do so. If that’s your case, then you can fill out Form I-140 and submit the appropriate evidence with it demonstrating national interest. It’s important to mention that as part of your submissions the employer has to demonstrate that they have the ability to continue paying the offered wage as of the priority date. They can submit things like an annual report, financial documents, tax returns, or other statements to prove this.
Within the employment second preference category, there are two subgroups. The first subgroup is those professionals who have an advanced degree, a baccalaureate degree with a minimum of five years of experience in that occupation. The second subgroup in that category is individuals who possess exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. It’s important to mention that you can petition for yourself for the National Interest Waiver and, in essence, bypass permanent labor certification and job requirements. Again, you need to provide evidence that it is in the best interest of the United States of America for these requirements to be waived by USCIS.
One of the disadvantages of the EB-2 is that the National Interest Waiver for this category has priority dates based on the applicant’s home country. Historically processing this has been longer than other categories like the EB-1 visa. Due to the complexity of filing employment-based green cards, it’s best to have an experienced immigration attorney review your case before you petition for yourself or submit any documents to USCIS.
EB-2 Requirements – How You Can Qualify
There are a number of required documents and certifications necessary to qualify under the EB-2 category with the Exceptional Ability or NIW (National Interest Waiver). You must be able to meet a minimum of three of the following requirements:
- An official academic record indicating that you obtained an advanced degree—or foreign equivalent if not U.S. based—in the field of exceptional ability
- At least five years of experience in your field with supporting documentation from your employer
- Professional certification or licensure and/or recognition of success from a government or peer
- Proof of salary paid that indicates you have exceptional ability in a field
- Any memberships or associations to a professional organization
EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The EB-2 NIW comes into play when you want the labor certification requirement to be waived, but you must demonstrate that it is in the best interest of the U.S. to do so. Again, one of the EB-2 green card benefits is that there are lower qualifications for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) compared to the EB-1A visa. All these points are important to keep in mind when deciding which route to take.
Due to the complexity of it and the current delays in immigration processing, we highly recommend seeking the guidance of an experienced EB-2 attorney.
EB-2 vs. EB-3
Earlier, we explored the EB-2 green card benefits compared to the EB-1 visa and explained that the priority dates for the EB-2 NIW visa are dependent on the applicant’s country of origin, so they tended to be longer. However, in past months, the reverse has actually been true due to EB-1 backlogs. Either way, both the EB-2 NIW and EB-1 are more advantageous than other employment visas that require a labor certification.
Now, let’s explore EB-2 vs. EB-3 employment categories. The EB-3 is intended for skilled/professional workers who have at minimum a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of five years of work experience. Since the requirements for the EB-3 are a bit easier to meet, the backlog is greater and sometimes up to a few years longer than an EB-2.
Stages for Onboarding EB-2 Employees
If you’re an employer seeking to hire a foreign employee under the EB-2 visa or EB-3 category, you must follow the steps established by USCIS and also demonstrate to the Department of Labor that you made the hiring process fair for all qualified applicants.
- The position must be advertised in a newspaper with local circulation for a minimum of two Sundays. Additionally, you might need to advertise the position in three other recruitment forums—website, job portals, etc.
- Next, you need to advertise where the recruit will be working and document all the steps involved, including other applicants who applied and your communications with them. It must be clear that all applicants were given a fair chance.
- The PERM recruitment process is necessary before submitting a labor certification application with the Department of Labor. After submitting the LCA, you must be able to show that your company can afford to pay the prevailing wage, and by hiring the foreign talent you are not taking jobs from someone in the United States.
- After the PERM is approved, you just need to be patient until you receive the EB-2 or EB-3 visa.
Expedite the Processing Time
There are ways to expedite the EB-2 processing time and that’s by purchasing premium processing. By doing so, you can cut the wait time to two weeks, and it will cost an additional $2,500—this fee increase took effect October 19, 2020. The same fee applies for premium processing of I-140s, EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 petitions. Before electing to spend the additional money on premium processing, it’s really advised to consider your EB-3 priority date along with your lawyer. Your priority date is when USCIS gets your I-140 petition, and due to the immigration hurdles in 2020, there have been many backlogs. You can also check the visa bulletin to see the final action dates according to your home country.