Business Immigration Law
Foreign National workers may come to the United States in nonimmigrant (temporary) or immigrant (permanent) status. Workers can also transfer to the US from a foreign company, to work in or to establish a US affiliate. Foreign entrepreneurs may even establish job-creating businesses in the US as a path to a green card. Family members may accompany foreign national workers to the US. There are many employment-based visas.
Nonimmigrant Employment Visas
A very popular nonimmigrant visa, this allows US employers to hire foreign professionals with minimum four year college degrees. A TN visa (Trade Nafta) is a subset of the H-1B for Canadian and Mexican nationals.
This is a nonimmigrant visa for international corporate transfers. A foreign company with a US branch, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate may transfer (i) managers, (ii) executives, and (iii) persons with specialized knowledge to the US. L-1 transferees must have worked for the overseas entity one year out of the past three.
E-1 & E-2
Called “Treaty Trader” visas, these permit foreign nationals to enter the US for trade or investment purposes. Exporters and Importers qualify as do manufacturing companies purchasing parts and equipment from parent firms. Technical or scientific know-how can be traded as well as goods for E-1 traders. E-2 investors may move their entire business to the US, start a new business here, or expand a US affiliate of the foreign company.
Requiring employer sponsorship, O Visas are nonimmigrant visas available for aliens with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics. O Visas are often a viable substitute for H-1B visas.
Immigrant Employment Visas
EB-1 (first preference)
EB-1 visas are available to Multinational Managers & Executives; Persons of Extraordinary Ability in Business, the Arts, and Science; and outstanding professors and researchers. The great advantage of this category allows qualified foreign nationals to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status without undergoing the arduous Labor Certification process.
EB-2 (second preference)
This category encompasses persons (i) holding advanced degrees (above a bachelors), or (ii) who can demonstrate exceptional ability in business or the sciences. This visa requires Labor Certification, which shows no US workers meet the qualifications.
EB-3 (third preference)
The EB-3 visa is for skilled and other workers, and professionals holding BS or BA degrees. EB-3 visas also require Labor Certification, and a showing of adequate recruitment efforts of US workers.
EB-5 (investor visas)
A unique visa category, EB-5 allows foreign investors in the US economy to be issued lawful permanent residence. Investors must create businesses and a certain number of permanent jobs. Financial requirements are less for economically depressed areas.
National Interest Waivers (NIW)
This is a unique way to bypass the Labor Certification requirement. If a foreign national with an advanced degree establishes that his or her US activities substantially benefit the US economy, health, or welfare. Obtaining NIW entails detailed evidence presentation and offers of proof.