What is an EB3 visa?
The EB3 Visa is the third-priority worker immigration visa offered to foreigners wishing to move permanently to the US. It is available for Canadians who are classed as skilled workers, professionals who hold a baccalaureate degree, and other workers that are classed as unskilled.
To be eligible for this particular visa, you must either hold a baccalaureate degree or have a minimum of two years of training or work experience within the chosen field of expertise that you wish to take to the US.
This visa type has a quota system, which means that every year, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allocate approximately 40,000 EB3 Visas. Once this number is achieved, all of the other applications for this visa that have been submitted will be put on hold until the following year. It is because of this, that the backlog of EB3 Visas may become quite extensive, and some applications may continue to roll over for several years.
Categories of the EB3 visa
The EB3 green card works as a skilled worker visa and is available to Canadians who have received an employment offer from a sponsor or employer at a business based in the US. It is mainly intended to help those who have not yet qualified for other forms of employment-based visas, such as the EB2 green card for exceptional ability.
The EB3 Visa can be split into three subcategories, as follows:
- Skilled workers who have at least two years of work experience or training within their chosen field of expertise
- Professionals whose employment requires a higher educational degree, and/or a professional license
- Other workers, who are working at a job in which qualified workers are either unwilling or not available in the US at the time of the petition
What are the requirements for skilled workers?
To be eligible for an EB3 green card as a skilled worker, you must have at least two years of work experience or training within your chosen field of expertise. You must also be working in an employment sector in which qualified workers are either unwilling or unavailable in the US workforce at the time of submitting your application. This ensures that your immigration to the US will be beneficial to the field.
What are the requirements for professionals?
To be eligible for an EB3 green card as a professional, you must either hold a United States baccalaureate degree or a Canadian bachelor’s degree. You must have sufficient experience in the working field, which cannot be substituted by your educational background. You must also be working in an employment sector in which skilled workers are either unwilling or unavailable in the US workforce at the time of submitting your application. This ensures that your immigration to the US will be beneficial to the field.
What are the requirements for unskilled workers?
To be eligible for an EB3 green card as an unskilled worker, you must have the ability to perform a form of unskilled labor, that is not of a seasonal or temporary nature. You may have less than two years of experience to qualify for the EB3 Visa as an unskilled worker. You must also be working in an employment sector in which domestic workers are either unwilling or unavailable in the US workforce at the time of submitting your application. This ensures that your immigration to the US will be beneficial to the field.
Who qualifies for an EB3 visa?
To qualify for an EB3 Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a labor certification
- Have a full-time permanent job, that is not seasonal or temporary
- Be able to demonstrate that there are no domestic US workers in the workforce that are available or willing to perform your specific job role
- Have received an employment offer from an employer based within a United States company or business
Some examples of jobs that fall under each of the EB3 subcategories are as follows:
- Professionals: professionals could include anyone within a professional capacity that required an educational degree, such as lawyers, architects, engineers, and teachers, etc
- Skilled workers: skilled workers could include anyone that requires a specific set of skills to do jobs that they may have gained based on experiences alone, such as computer scientists, graphic designers, supervisors, and journalists, etc
- Unskilled/other workers: unskilled and other workers are jobs that do not necessarily require a lot of experience and could include jobs such as caretakers, housekeepers, nannies, and janitors, etc
What is the process of the PERM Labor Certification?
For an employer to be eligible to sponsor a foreign worker on an EB3 Visa, they must first file with the US Department of Labour for Permanent Labor Certification using the Program Electronic Management Review system (PERM). PERM allows a US employer to advocate for an immigrant to travel and live in the US permanently, and the primary goal of this objective is to prove that there is no one in the US who is willing, or capable of providing the intellect or skills that you can bring from Canada. Obtaining this certification can be a lengthy and costly process.
To achieve approval, the permit certification must also pass a Prevailing Wage Determination. This means that the US-based sponsor or employer will need to provide evidence that the job vacancy has been advertised in relevant agencies and major local newspapers, to prove that they have attempted to get US-based domestic workers.
The Department of Labor may also ask to be given access to a detailed record of the recruitment process, including resumes handed in, interview notes, and anything else that may prove that they have attempted to hire from within the US to fill the advertised position.
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The application process for an EB3 Visa can take anywhere between one and three years. However, some applicants from certain countries could end up facing a wait of up to 6 years, because of the annual visa cap set by the USCIS, delaying certain applications.
It is possible for your sponsor to pay an additional fee of $1,410 to shorten the processing time of your EB3 Visa, however, this may not help if your permit priority date is still not current.
If you are successful in obtaining an EB3 Visa, your immediate relatives from Canada may join you in the United States. Dependents include your spouse or civil partner, and any unmarried children under the age of 21. Unfortunately, this does not extend to parents, grandparents, or siblings of the primary EB3 Visa holder.
If your EB3 Visa subcategory is as a skilled worker or a professional worker, your spouse can apply for an E-34 Visa, and eligible children can apply for an E-35 permit.
If your EB3 Visa subcategory is for unskilled workers in the US, your spouse may be eligible for an EW-4 Visa, and eligible children may apply for an EW-5 Visa.
The spouse of an EB3 Visa holder under all subcategories can apply for an Employment Authorisation Document bracket (EAD), which could potentially grant them the right to work within the United States while they are there with you.
Before even sponsoring your application, it is a requirement that your employer is able to prove that there are no available United States domestic workers that are available or willing to perform the job role that you are being offered. They can do so by getting a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DoL) and filing the ETA Form 9089.