In an effort to stay aware of the latest and greatest industry updates and information, I sign up for alerts and newsletters from partners, experts and industry veterans/companies. When it comes to immigration news, some of my favorites to watch are: EIG, Envoy, Emigra, BAL, Fragomen, Newland Chase/CIBT, Pearl Law and Faegre

The latest dispatch from Erickson Immigration Group (EIG) was full of updates on employment-based immigration preferences which are available for permanent workers as opposed to temporary workers, visitors or students/exchange visitors. Each type of employment-based visa (EB) has a specific talent target and eligibility criteria. Every fiscal year approximately 140,000 EB visas are made available for qualified applicants. 

The general premise is that to be considered for an immigrant visa under most of the employment-based categories, the employer has to obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received, they then file and petition (Form I-140) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office for the appropriate category. Once approved, it gets sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) to be assigned a case number. Next in the sequence, the NVC will instruct the applicant to complete Form DS-261 and then begin pre-processing the case. Once fees are paid, the visa documents are requested and processed.

For more information on fees, the process, required documents and a breakdown of each category, please visit the USCIS website or go straight to the page for employment-based visas.