EB-3 Skilled, professional, and other workers
Professional positions require at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, skilled positions require two or more years of education or training, and other workers are everyone else. Fewer visas are available for the “other worker” category, resulting in a longer wait to obtain permanent resident status.
Labor certification is required in all cases except for “Schedule A” precertification for registered nurses and foreign nationals with exceptional ability. To obtain U.S. permanent resident status (“green card”) for an employee through labor certification, the employer must demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Labor that it has conducted the required recruitment activities to try to find a qualified U.S. worker. The employer must offer at least the prevailing wage and document the ability to pay the intended compensation. The employer, not the employee, must pay the costs and fees for the labor certification application. To complete the permanent residence process, the labor certification application is followed by two additional steps, the employer’s Form I-140 petition to USCIS and the employee’s application for permanent resident status. It can take years to complete these three steps. The same job offer must remain available to the employee throughout green card processing, unless the employee becomes eligible to transfer the employer’s petition to another position.