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When an Experienced Immigration Attorney Matters!

Employment-Based Immigrant Petitions

U.S. employers may sponsor foreign employees, or potential employees, to immigrate to the U.S. by filing an employment-based immigrant petition. The petition allows the employee to permanently reside in the U.S. as a permanent resident (green-card holder).  There are five basic “preferences” in which employers may petition for their employees abroad to become permanent residents.

  1. First Preference

    - Employment-based first preference is reserved for employees who (a) have extraordinary ability in the area of science, arts, athletics, and business; (b) are outstanding researchers and professors; and (c) are multi-national executive transferees.  Within these categories, the most utilized category is the multi-national executive transferees, which employers often sponsor their executives to come to the U.S.  Visas are usually available (“current”) for this category and there is no waiting period for a visa to be available.  The Houston Employment-Based Petition Attorneys and the West Houston Employment Immigration Lawyers have assisted numerous employers to sponsor their employees to immigrate to the U.S. under this category.

  2. Second Preference

    - Employment-based second preference visas are available for (a) workers with exceptional skills in the arts, business, or science; (b) foreign nationals with advance degrees, such as a master or doctoral degrees; and (c) physicians and doctors who wish to practice medicine in the U.S. in underserved areas (usually in rural or under-privilege areas).  Visas for employment-based second preference are also usually current.  However, employers must first file and successfully obtain a PERM application for the U.S. department of labor.  The PERM application is not difficult, but can be time consuming.  The PERM process is intended to show that there is a lack of labor force in the U.S. for the position employers seek to fill.  Please see below for more details for call the Houston PERM Application Attorneys and the Southwest Houston and Sugar Land Immigration Lawyers at Veritas for more information.

  3. Third Preference

    - Employment-based third preference category is reserved for (a) professionals who have an equivalent U.S. Bachelor degree; (b) skilled workers with at least two years experience in a specialized area of work, and (c) unskilled workers (though visas are usually not available for unskilled workers). Employers who wish to file immigrant petitions for foreign employees under the third preference must first obtain an approved PERM application.  In addition, there is usually insufficient number of positions available within this category, creating a back-log of cases in which employers must wait until a visa is available for their employees.  This usually takes 2-3 years or more.  For faster ways of sponsoring employees abroad, please contact the experienced Houston Texas Immigration Attorneys and the Houston Employment Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham at 713-517-6645.

  4. Fourth Preference

    - Employment-based third preference category is reserved for religious workers. Religious institutions in the U.S. may sponsor religious workers under R-1 non-immigrant visas who are currently in the U.S. or foreign national religious workers abroad to permanently reside in the U.S.  Monks, priests, ministers, professional workers who work for an employer such as accountant and network administrators, and skilled and unskilled workers may all be sponsored through this category. 

  5. Fifth Preference

    - Employment-based fifth preference is an investment immigrant visa in the U.S.  To qualify, the foreign national must invest at least $1,000,000 in an urban area or at least $500,000 in a rural area. The company can either be a new company or be the purchase of an existing company in the U.S.  The employer/investor must employ at least 10 U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  In addition, the foreign national must control and manage the company. The advantage of this category is that a visa is usually immediately available and the person does not have to file for a PERM application. 


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique. You should NOT rely on the limited information on this general site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Immigration Lawyer. There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645, or to contact us online, for more information. Call the Houston Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Houston Naturalization Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.