February 13, 2018
First, employment-based visas (EB – based visas) are one of the few ways an immigrant can permanently migrate to the US. Essentially, to permanently migrate to the US, an immigrant can: 1) be sponsored by a family member that is a US citizen or, in some cases, a permanent resident; 2) win the visa lottery if their country qualifies for the program; or 3) be sponsored by a US employer under the EB- based visa program.
Secondly, the EB based immigration programs are the most commonly used permanent migration programs in the US, other than family-based sponsorship. The US government established the EB3 program in 1990 when it passed the Immigration and Nationalization Act of 1990. Under the law, the government established 5 employment-based immigration categories. These are not non-immigrant, temporary visas, like the H visa-based categories. The employment-based visas are permanent, and they are designed to assist US businesses recruit or keep permanently foreign workers the businesses need to be successful. All EB visas include the applicants’ dependents– wife and dependent children.
Finally, most of the allocation for EB-based visas are filled by EB2 and EB5 applicants. These visas are very straight forward and require limited effort as the sponsor requirements are simple: you either are highly skilled or you invest the required amount of money to obtain the visa. The other EB-based visas requirements require much more rigorous requirements of the employer sponsor.
With regard to EB3, it is not easy for US employers to qualify to sponsor foreign immigrant workers. Primarily, the US Sponsor is required to demonstrate, through the Department of Labor, that the sponsor cannot find enough US workers to fill the job openings they have. This process is rigorous.
Over time, it is difficult to prove a US worker labor shortage in a high unemployment environment. In other words, when unemployment in the US is high, there are sufficient US workers to fill most jobs. But, when US unemployment is low (like it is currently), then US employers generally have a difficult time finding workers. So, the potential for US employers to sponsor foreign immigrants under EB3 fluctuates based on the US unemployment rate.
But, the biggest reasons why EB3 is used so infrequently is because the process of sponsoring a foreign immigrant under EB3 requires significant work and effort on the part of the employer sponsor and the process takes time. The average application can take approximately 18 months. This problem is compounded by the fact that the employer sponsor cannot be compensated for this effort. The only benefit the employer sponsor can receive is the foreign worker. Most employers are just not willing to put in the effort and time to sponsor foreign immigrants considering these obstacles.