Employment immigration options for U.S. businesses

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2023 | Immigration

In today’s globalized world, there are many advantages to hiring talent from overseas. U.S. businesses can benefit from a larger pool of highly qualified applicants when they recruit from around the world. There are also situations where it’s a prudent business decision to transfer employees based abroad into the U.S.

With any business immigration scenario, there are multiple avenues to consider.

Business visas

Visas grant temporary authorization to reside in the United States for a specific purpose. In the business context, there are multiple categories of visas:

  • H-1B visas for specialty workers sponsored by U.S. employers
  • H-2A and H-2B visas for temporary agricultural and unskilled workers
  • L visas for intracompany transferees (employees based abroad who are transferring to a domestic position for their U.S.-based employer)
  • E-1 and E-2 visas for treaty traders and investors who meet specific criteria
  • E-3 visas for Australian nationals seeking to enter a specialty occupation in the U.S.
  • TN visas for Canadian and Mexican professionals pursuing business opportunities in the U.S. pursuant to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • B-1 visas for those traveling to the U.S. temporarily for business purposes
  • H-3 visas for employees of domestic companies pursuing training in the U.S.

Each visa has highly specific requirements that both the sponsoring employer and prospective visa holder must meet.

Business-related lawful permanent residence

U.S. employers may sponsor workers for a green card (lawful permanent residence) under specific circumstances. There are five preference categories for employment-based green cards:

  • First preference (E1) for certain specialty workers, researchers, scientists, managers and executives
  • Second preference (E2) for those with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in certain fields
  • Third preference (E3) for certain professionals as well as qualifying skilled and unskilled workers
  • Fourth preference (E4) for specific categories of employees
  • Fifth preference (E5) for those making a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise that will create jobs in the U.S.

As with temporary visas, there are many nuances to navigating the green card process.