Can you be overqualified or underqualified for a job in the EB-3 Unskilled Visa Category?

Brit Vergnolle
May 19, 2021

One question that many people who apply for a job under the EB-3 Other Worker category ask is: “But am I overqualified for this job?” This line of questioning has existed throughout the history of the EB-3 unskilled program. Even USCIS officers will ask applicants: “Why would you, a doctor, or lawyer, or skilled person, work in this job?” So, what is the answer? No. The only requirements for the EB-3 unskilled visa are a labor certification and that the job offer be full-time. If you can do the job and the company can show no American worker wants to do the job, then you meet the qualifications of the visa. Your degree or prior job – whether as a doctor, lawyer, or scientist – is not relevant to this visa. Specifically, the law says: The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training, education, or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

Government officers, whether at USCIS or Consular at the State Department do often have a misconception and ask questions regarding a foreign national’s experience, but those questions go to the intention of the applicant rather than their skill. Oftentimes, USCIS or Consular officers simply do not believe that foreign nationals will do the job or do the job for a significant period. Instead, they believe foreign nationals are merely faking their intention to do the job in order to obtain a green card. For applicants who are adjusting status, the best way to show you have the intention to do to job is to obtain a work permit and do the job.

For Consular cases, you must convince the Consular officer that you actually plan on doing the job once you arrive in the United States. However, State Department regulations specifically prohibit officers from denying a case based on the “mere belief” that a foreign national will not accept a job because of his or her socio-economic status or past job experiences (See below):
9 FAM 302.1-5(B)(5) (U) Employment Intent Upon Admission (CT:VISA-160; 08-19-2016) c. (U) Alien Appears Overqualified for Position: The mere belief that an alien will not accept a menial job because of his or her socio-economic status is not sufficient to justify the cancellation of Part B of a labor certification or to justify a finding of inadmissibility under INA 212(a)(5)(A).
Thus, are you a doctor or lawyer, and think you might be overqualified for an EB-3 unskilled job? You may feel that way, but if you are willing to work hard and do the job, you qualify.
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