As obtaining an H-1B visa becomes more difficult, more and more people who are being sponsored for a green card through their employer are getting it done through the EB-3 visa, sometimes by using Optional Practice Training (OPT).
The third-preference EB-3 visa is the most widely used employment-based immigration visa. Applicants may include both skilled workers (people whose jobs require at least 2 years of work experience) and unskilled workers (for positions that do not take into account prior work experience or a minimum education requirement.)
Even if you have a college degree in a field that is unrelated to the job for which you are applying for the visa, you may still be able to apply as a “skilled worker” instead of an “unskilled worker” in some cases.
The EB-3 visa considers two major requirements. First, it looks at whether the applicant can demonstrate the ability to perform. Second, the employer must demonstrate its ability to pay the offered wage to the applicant. These requirements are held at a stricter standard for EB-2 visas, which means that in some cases, those who meet the requirements for an EB-2 visa still go with the less-stringent EB-3 visa.
Still, EB-3 visa cases have a higher chance of facing inspection and auditing compared to the EB-2 visa. In addition, applicants for the “unskilled worker” category have a higher chance of being selected for an audit for supervised recruitment, meaning they should make sure to prepare carefully.
Once under audit, employers will have no problem passing if they can provide evidence they searched for applicants within the U.S. and posted job ads. But if they are selected for supervised recruitment, the case faces a risk of rejection. It is important to emphasize unfilled needs for education, experience and special requirements to avoid being put under supervised recruitment.
It is not possible to accurately estimate processing times for EB-3 visas, as every case is different. If the employer’s needs and the applicant’s skillset are clear, cases may take between 1.5 to 2 years.
We recommend applicants to discuss with employers and take advantage of desired education and experience requirements when preparing evidence and documentation.
Law Offices of Gary J. Kim
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