If you own a business and have employed foreign nationals, you may have been a witness to the struggles they have faced trying to renew their visas in order to be able to continue their legal stay in the United States. You may have considered the possibility of sponsoring them for a visa that would allow them to stay and work permanently in this country but may be having doubts as to whether this is possible and how it can be achieved.
Fortunately, the law allows for such an act, to the point where employee petitions are a common way for employers to aid an employee in obtaining a permanent resident card or green card. Once they have obtained this document, the next step for them is to apply to become an American citizen.
Who is eligible to receive a green card?
To be eligible to be considered for a green card, your employees would have to be able to demonstrate that they have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States and that this job meets the required qualifications for sponsorship. Also, whether this employee came into the country with an immigrant or a non-immigrant visa will play a role in determining eligibility.
Here are the immigrant visas that will help your employees on their way to a green card:
EB-1 Visa: Given to priority workers such as renowned athletes or artists, academics, or executives in multinational corporations.
EB-2 Visa: For professionals who have obtained advanced degrees. Also, for those who have an unusual skill or specialty.
EB-3 Visa: Given to skilled or professional workers with university degrees or laborers with skills not often found in the United States.
EB-4 Visa: For immigrants in specific categories such as some physicians and religious workers.
What must you do to help your employees qualify for a green card?
Besides verifying that your employees do hold one of the above-mentioned visas, you must also apply for a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor. In some cases, you must file form I-140 with the USCIS.
Once you are notified that the application has been approved you must wait until they receive their immigrant visa from the Department of State. This visa places your employees in a priority line for people seeking to receive a lawful permanent residency. They will then have to wait for a period of approval which varies depending on the country of origin of the employee as well as how many other individuals are in line for the same type of visa.
Once the waiting period is over and they receive their immigrant visa number that allows them to enter and work in this country, the employee may petition for their spouses and minor children to receive immigrant visas as well.
Next Step: Citizenship.
Once your employees have a green card, they will want to become American citizens. This allows them to vote in elections and enjoy all the rights of a full citizen. These days, they will most likely also be able to keep their original citizenship.
There are many requirements to successfully helping your employees get a green card. If you do not want to risk their chances of obtaining permanent residency, it is recommended that you work with an immigration attorney in Gainesville, FL.