Working in the United States is highly desirable for people in countries across the world. Fair wages, job security and the wealth of opportunities here draw people to the U.S. in the hopes of securing employment and citizenship.
In some cases, people are able to secure employment visas, also called H1B visas. In order to receive this type of permission, a person must be sponsored by an employer to come and work in the U.S. These visas are issued on a priority basis and require an applicant or employer to specify in which category of employment a person would be working.
According to the U.S. Department of State, there are five categories, or preferences, of employment that are eligible to receive employment visas. An even amount of visas are distributed among the first three priorities with each receiving 28.6 percent of the total number of visas issued. Those in the fourth priority receive 7.1 percent of the total number and fifth priority workers receive up to 7.1 percent.
The categories for preference or priority are as follows:
- First preference workers are those with extraordinary ability in certain fields or managers and executives in multinational roles. Applicants in this group must have extensive background and experience in their field.
- Second preference workers are those that have advanced degrees and exceptional abilities.
- Third preference employment includes people who are skilled workers, professionals and non-skilled workers who are able to perform work in permanent jobs.
- Fourth preference workers include Special Immigrants. Broadcasters, former employees of certain companies, ministers, foreign interpreters, and other people with political or military connections may be considered Special Immigrants.
- Fifth preference workers are foreign investors with interests in U.S. companies.
Certain workers have a better chance of being approved for an employment visa, but it is crucial for all foreign workers and the companies that intend to sponsor them to understand the standards that must be met to petition for a visa.
With the help of an attorney familiar with immigration laws, it can be possible for people to avoid costly delays and mistakes that could negatively impact a petition for an employment-based visa.