STEM Field US Visa Alternatives – EB1, EB2 and H-1B Options
Foreign Workers in STEM Fields
Of the available immigration options to enter the United States, the H-1B visa is by far one of the most highly recognizable and sought after visas. In our February issue, we had an article on the “H-1B Visa Gold Rush.” Many of the individuals who apply for the H-1B Visa are from the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Currently, there is a “Great STEM Crisis,”; a massive shortage of skilled workers for high tech positions in the United States, and as a result American employers are looking to foreign workers to fulfill these positions.
While the H-1B Visa is a great option for individuals seeking to fulfill open STEM positions, there are alternative visas that many individuals who qualify for the H-1B Visa could also qualify for. In addition, those applicants would not experience the lottery like H-1B process and would receive permanent status in the United States.
The H-1B Visa
The H-1B Visa is available to individuals who occupy a “Specialty Occupation,” meaning an individual who has highly specialized knowledge in the field in which they plan to work and have a baccalaureate or higher degree, or its equivalent in the field of their “Specialty Occupation.” Many H-1B applicants have attained a high degree of experience in the field. With this high level of experience, H-1B Applicants could qualify for a visa that does not involve a lottery like process, and offer permanent resident status in the United States.
The EB2 – A Suitable Alternative with Many Drawbacks
When potential H-1B applicants look to alternative visas they often believe that the EB2 Green Card Petition, for Advanced Degree Graduates is their best option. In order to qualify for the EB2 Petition, the applicant must have a Masters Degree or its equivalent, which is based on their BS Degree Equivalent plus 5 years of experience, or, based on their exceptional ability. The EB2 Green Card also requires that applicants already have a US employer, which can be difficult for immigrants, no matter what their qualifications may be.
- The Labor Certification Requirement
One of the most daunting requirements of the EB2 Process is the Labor Certification Process, also known as the “PERM” process which is conducted through the US Department of Labor. PERM requires the US employer prove that, after an extensive job advertising process, there are no qualified Americans available to fill the position, thus allowing the employer to hire the foreign worker. In fact, the US employer is given a Labor Certificate that is passed to USCIS to prove that the Employer has completed all due diligence in terms of trying to hire an American.
The H-1B Visa has Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) certification process, which only requires the US employer to prove that the level of pay being offered to a qualified alien is the fair market rate or prevailing wage.
- The Extensive Waiting Period
Having your green card in hand as soon as possible is a top priority for many of our clients and their employers. While the end result of the EB2 process is receiving the green card, for many individuals who are residents of either China or India, their pathway to a green card will include an extensive waiting period.
According to the Visa bulletin published by the US Department of State for April 2016, US Immigration is currently 4 years behind in processing EB2 applications from China, and 8 years behind in processing applications from India. This long waiting period is due, in part, to the fact that a high volume of applicants from China and India apply for the EB2 Visa. With a waiting period as extensive as this, many individuals often get discouraged, however there are alternative options available.
The EB1 – Your Best Option
With the above referenced EB2 Petition drawbacks in mind, we suggest that you set your sights on the EB1 Petition. The EB1 Petition is for “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability,” who can secure a green card by satisfying three out of the ten EB1 Requirements. The beauty of the EB1 visa is that many of our clients who work in the STEM fields have often made achievements that satisfy many, if not all, of the EB1 Visa requirements.
The EB1 Petition does not have any of the limitations as the EB2 Petition. Unlike the H-1B Visa, the EB1 Green Card Petition allows the applicant to be free to work for any employer they choose, and the applicant does not need to have an employer sponsor. Additionally, there is no labor certification process, nor are there extensive waiting periods as US Immigration is current in processing the EB1 Petitions.
We Can Help
Whether you are an individual who initially believed the H-1B Visa was the best option but is now rethinking the immigration options, or someone who is daunted by the extensive EB2 process, we would love to hear from you. Contact our firm today and our specialists can walk you through the best solutions to securing status in the United States quickly and efficiently.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Tel: 310 496 4292
Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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