The Immigration Act (INA) now defines five categories or preferences for immigration based on employment or employment-creation:
1. Preference I “Priority Workers”
This category includes:
- Aliens with “extraordinary ability” in arts, sciences, education, business and athletics
- Outstanding Professors and Researchers
- Certain Multi-national Executives and Managers
2. Preference II –Professionals and Aliens of “Exceptional Ability”
Immigrant status is available to qualified immigrants who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent, or who because of their “exceptional ability (which must be demonstrated by more than just a degree or license) in the sciences, arts or business, will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States.
3. Preference III- Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers
Skilled Workers: An alien qualifies as a skilled worker if at the time of petitioning for classification, the alien qualifies to perform skilled labor requiring at least two years’ training or experience and is being sponsored for a position which is not temporary or seasonal in nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
Professionals: These are aliens holding baccalaureate degrees and members of the persons employed in positions for which United States workers are not available.
Other Workers: This sub-category is reserved for aliens capable of performing unskilled labor not of a temporary or seasonal nature for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
4. Preference IV- Special Immigrants
This category is reserved for certain qualified special immigrants such as religious workers, certain former United Nations employees, etc.
5. Preference V- Employment- Creation Immigrants
The Investor provision provides visas to applicants who invest a minimum of $1,000,000 in a new enterprise in the United States that results in the creation of employment of at least 10 qualified workers (United States citizens, permanent residents, and certain other individuals who are authorized to work in the United States) other than immediate family members of the investor. In certain exceptional circumstances, including where the investment is made in an area of high employment or rural area, the investment amount may be reduced to $500,000.