Another common avenue for emigrating to the United States is through employment. Under most circumstances, employment-based immigration is possible when a U.S. employer petitions to bring a foreign employee to the United States for qualifying employment.
Employers can bring employees to work in the United States on a temporary basis through nonimmigrant visas, or they may petition to sponsor an employee, making the foreign employee eligible to obtain a "Green Card" and remain in the United States permanently.
Employment-Based Nonimmigrant Visas
Employment-based nonimmigrant visas are are visas issued for temporary work. Such visas can range anywhere from several months to several years and may be eligible for renewal. Common types of employment-based nonimmigrant visas include visas for degreed professionals in a specialty occupation, intra-company transferees, foreign treaty traders and investors, athletes, performers, and individuals with outstanding skills, expertise, and acclaim. Additionally, there are special visas for certain Canadian and Mexican professionals. In general, most employment-based nonimmigrant visas require that a foreign national has an employer who is willing and able to sponsor them.
Additionally, certain visas, in particular the H Visas, are subject to annual quotas, meaning that there is a limited number of visas per year and they tend to be in high demand.
Employment-Based Green Cards
Similar to family-based green cards, employment-based green cards are also subject to quotas and potentially long waiting times depending on type of the employment, profession, and country of birth of foreign employee. The Visa Bulletin, which is published monthly, indicates the cases the government is currently processing based on the "priority date," which reflects the date of the sponsoring employer's initial fiing. When the "priority date" is current, the foreign employee can apply for an immigrant visa to come to the United States, or if already in the United States and eligible, to apply for the "Green Card" from within the US.