Permanent Residence Through Employment
If you are seeking to recruit or hire a noncitizen from another country for a permanent position, then that person must become a lawful permanent resident to work in the United States. Employers may sponsor an employee for permanent resident status. People seeking permanent resident status, or a "green card," are placed in "priority groups," organized by the qualifications required for the job and by the individual qualifications of the employees themselves.
For some of those priority groups, obtaining employment-based permanent resident status can take a very long time. It is critical to be in the right priority group. Additionally, an employer must be prepared for any issues that might arise during the process of obtaining a green card for an employee.
Houston Immigration Lawyer for Permanent Employment
Kathryn Karam is a Houston immigration lawyer who assists Gulf Coast employers seeking to hire people living outside the United States for permanent positions at their company. Obtaining a green card can be a complicated process. Karam Immigration law excels at finding innovative solutions to difficult problems.
Kathryn Karam has assisted all kinds of employers, from large corporations to small businesses and including governmental entities, with their immigration matters. She understands the issues they face and knows how to address them. Call (832) 582-0620 today to set up a consultation.
Karam Immigration law works with employers throughout the Greater Houston area, including Greenway Plaza, the Energy Corridor, the Galleria Area, The Woodlands, Sugar Land and Clear Lake.
Overview of Employment-Based Green Cards
- When a Green Card is Necessary for Houston Employers
- Priority Groups for Employment-Based Green Cards
- Assisting Texas Employers With Hiring Immigrant Workers for Permanent Jobs
When a Green Card is Necessary for Houston Employers
If a position is only temporary, such as for a particular project, only a nonimmigrant visa, or temporary worker visa, is necessary. This is the case even if the project or work is intended to last for a few years.
However, if the position is permanent or indefinite, then you must seek an immigrant visa to obtain permanent resident status. The main test is what the intent was at the time of hire. If a person is coming to the Houston area with a temporary worker visa and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) suspects the person's true intent is to stay permanently, they may deny entry. CBP may look at the person's ties to their home country or any other factor to determine intent.
However, it is possible for a person to enter the United States with a nonimmigrant visa and work while seeking permanent resident status if they hold a dual-intent visa. A dual-intent visa can be invaluable if you are seeking to bring in an employee soon, but waiting for a green card would take a very long time. Dual-intent visas are available for certain types of temporary worker visas, including an H-1B, for professionals, and an L-1, for intracompany transferees.
If a person enters legally with a nonimmigrant visa and a company wishes to hire that person on a permanent basis, they may seek an adjustment of status (AOS). An AOS is a process by which a person's legal status is changed from nonimmigrant to immigrant.
A Houston employment-based immigration attorney can help assess your situation, determine your company's needs and identify options.
Priority Groups for Employment-Based Green Cards
People are ranking into five different "priority groups" when seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. The rankings are based on the qualifications of the job and, in some cases, the qualifications of the individual.
- Priority Workers (EB-1): The highest-ranking workers are for those with "extraordinary ability" in arts, sciences, business or athletics. It can also be for outstanding professors and researchers, and the managers and executives of international companies based in the United States.
- Professionals With Advanced Degrees, or Persons With Exceptional Ability (EB-2): Professionals with advanced degrees must have a degree higher than a baccalaureate degree, or a baccalaureate degree and five years of related progressive experience. "Exceptional Ability" means proven ability in sciences, arts or business that is above ordinary. Persons who qualify to be in this priority group may also seek to petition based on a National Interest Waiver or under Schedule A Group II.
- Skilled Workers, Professionals and Unskilled Workers (EB-3): This covers jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree and less than five years of experience, positions requiring some experience but no degree, and jobs not in the other four categories.
- Certain Special Immigrants (EB-4): This group includes certain specific workers, including broadcasters, religious ministers, and people who have worked with the U.S. government in certain capacities.
- Investors (EB-5): To qualify for this category, an immigrant must be investing at least $1 million or $500,000 in Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is an area with high unemployment or a rural area.
Each category has a different wait time. Your wait time will also depend on which group you fall into and what country you are from. A certain amount of visas are allocated to each. Some, especially those in EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5, are available without a waiting list. Some have a waiting list that extends a decade.
Assisting Texas Employers With Hiring Immigrant Workers for Permanent Jobs
If you are a Houston-area employer seeking to hire a person from outside the United States to a permanent position, an experienced attorney can make a significant difference on your success and how much time it takes. Kathryn Karam assists businesses and employers in the Houston area. Call today at (832) 582-0620 to set up a consultation.