Every year, the US makes 40,000 visas available under the EB-3 category, which covers skilled workers with at least two years of work experience, professionals with a US Bachelor degree or its foreign equivalent, and unskilled workers performing non-seasonal labor.
With 10,000 visas reserved for the last category of unskilled workers, there are 30,000 visas available for skilled workers and professionals who don’t qualify under EB-1 and EB-2 categories for those with extraordinary abilities and advanced degrees respectively.
EB-3- Application Process
The formal EB-3 application process begins with filing of the I-140 petition. If already in the US and if your petition’s priority date is current, then you can opt for concurrent filing of the I-485 petition as well.
However, a very important preliminary step before the I-140 can be filed is applying for Individual Labor Certification with the Department of Labor (DOL).
An approved labor certification application serves as proof that-
- The job position was advertised within the US and no US worker is qualified or able, or available to accept the permanent job offer, and
- Your wages and working conditions will not adversely affect similarly employed US workers.
The approved application is valid for 180 days and the I-140 petition must be filed before this period expires. Further, the date of filing of the labor certification application with the DOL serves as the priority date, which means it will determine when you will be eligible to file for adjustment of status or the immigrant visa application, as applicable.
Filing of the I-140 Petition
The approved labor certification application must be filed along with all other documents related to the applicant’s identify, education, qualifications, work experience, job training, and other relevant details.
The USCIS considers a wide range of points, including whether the job description seems to be tailored specifically to match the applicant’s qualification and work experience or whether the case fits a local fraud pattern, before adjudicating on the same.
The employer’s standing and ability to pay the wages offered too will be assessed, along with past track record with respect to other immigration petitions filed by the employer.
Adjudication of Status/ Immigrant Visa Application
Upon the petition’s approval, the applicant is now allowed to file for adjudication of status (if located in the US) or the immigrant visa application (if outside). However, this can be done only if the petition’s priority date is current.
The annual EB-3 visa quota has a per-country cap of around seven percent and applicants from a country that has exceeded the annual limit, like India, face a waiting period until the visa becomes available, which is described as the priority date becoming current.
Applicant from a country that has not exceeded the annual cap can proceed to the third step immediately after approval of the I-140 petition.
He or she will become an EB-3 category permanent resident after the I-485 petition for adjustment of status or immigrant visa application is approved.