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New fiscal year brings new allotment of employment based visas

The government's fiscal calendar does not actually follow the calendar that most people follow. That is, Oct. 1 is effectively New Years Day, when it comes to employment-based visas in the United States. As the beginning of fiscal year 2012, Oct. 1 marks the day that the new slate of allotted employment-based visas became available.

The U.S. government makes roughly 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available to qualified visa applicants each fiscal year. The visas are divided into five separate categories known as preferences under immigration law.

EB-1 Visas

An EB-1 visa is the first category of employment-based immigrant visas and covers what the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services calls "priority workers." Immigrants who may qualify for an EB-1 visa typically fall into one of three areas of expertise:

  • Immigrants with extraordinary ability in science, the arts, education, business or sports. Extraordinary ability must be recognized at the national or international level
  • Outstanding researchers and professors may also qualify for an EB-1 visa based upon international recognition and at least three years of experience
  • Multinational managers or executives of affiliates, subsidiaries, or other specified affiliations with a U.S. business

EB-2 Visas

The employment-based second preference level visas are directed toward immigrants who are:

  • Professionals with advanced degrees
  • Persons with exceptional abilities in areas such as the arts, sciences or business

EB-3 Visas

The employment-based third preference category covers:

  • Skilled workers
  • Professionals
  • Unskilled workers

EB-4 Visas

The employment-based fourth preference category covers certain special immigrants, including broadcasters, religious ministers, certain former employees of the U.S. government and others.

EB-5 Visas

This blog has carried several stories regarding the EB-5 visa. The visas are set aside for immigrant investors and entrepreneurs. Applicants may be able to obtain a two-year provisional green card under the EB-5 program through investing between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in an enterprise which creates at least 10 full-time jobs over 2-years.

Many employment-based visas require a business sponsor. Individuals or Florida businesses interested in the immigrant visa programs can speak with an experienced business immigration attorney to learn what steps are necessary to secure an employment-based visa under immigration law.

Source: Bureau of Consular Affairs, "Employment-Based Immigrant Visas."

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