Powers Immigration Law

Employment-Base, Third Preference (EB-3)


Foreign nationals may be eligible for an employment-based, third-preference (EB-3) visa if he or she falls into one of the following categories:

  • is a skilled worker with at least two years of job experience or training,
  • possesses a baccalaureate degree and such a degree is a normal requirement for entry into the occupation, or
  • is an unskilled worker when there are no available qualified American workers. 

What is the process? The position offered must require an advanced degree and the foreign national must possess such a degree or its equivalent.

Only a sponsoring employer can petition for a foreign national under this category. The first step is broadly called the PERM process. PERM is an acronym for Program Electronic Review Management. The PERM process begins with a request to the Department of Labor (DOL) for a prevailing wage determination (PWD). The PWD request provides details to the DOL regarding the job duties, job requirements, and job location. The DOL will then issue the prevailing wage determination, which the employer will use as the base salary requirement for the job.

Once the DOL has issued a PWD, the employer begins a mandatory recruitment processes. This recruitment phase is intended to ensure that no qualified and willing American workers are available to fill the open position.

If no qualified and willing American workers are found during the recruitment process, the employer must file ETA Form 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification, with the DOL.

Upon certification of ETA Form 9089 is received, the petitioning employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition establishes that the alien is eligible for an immigrant visa based on employment and that the U.S. employer has the funds and assets necessary to pay the worker the wage advertised in the PERM process.

The final stage is for the foreign national to apply for adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident or to apply for an immigrant visa through the Embassy or consulate. When this application can be submitted is dependent upon the priority date and country of chargeability. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets the number of immigrant visas that may be issued to foreign nationals seeking to become lawful permanent residents (get a Green Card) each year. When the demand is higher than the supply of visas for a given year in any given category or country, a visa queue (waiting list or backlog) forms. To distribute the visas among all preference categories, the Department of State (DOS) allocates the visas according to a prospective immigrant’s preference category, country of chargeability, and priority date.  With the EB-2 category, the priority date is the date when the United States Department of Labor receives a labor certification application. To determine the potential length of wait, visit the latest visa bulletin found on the Department of State website.

The pages of this website provide general information about immigration processes and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions specific to your case, to schedule a consultation, please call (704) 556-1156 for the Charlotte office, (828) 394-1196 for the Hickory office, or click here.

Powers Immigration Law ("the Law Office") maintains this website to provide general information about the firm and the services it provides to its clients.  The information contained on this website is not intended to be legal advice and it should not be relied on as a substitute for seeking legal counsel.   The Law Office does not seek to enter into an attorney-client relationship with any reader of its on-line content.  An attorney-client relationship with the firm can only be formed based on personal consultation with an attorney, followed by a determination that the Law Office is willing and able to accept such representation.



Powers Immigration Law ♦ tanya.powers@tmpowerslaw.com

520 8th Street NE ♦ Hickory, NC 28601 ♦ (828) 394-1196

5200 Park Road, Suite 221 ♦ Charlotte, NC 28209  ♦ (704) 556-1156

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