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Employment Visas & Work Sponsorships



^ I'm a current student on an F1 visa. Can I start working in the U.S. after I graduate, and if so, what do I need to do?

International students studying in the U.S. under an F-1 visa are usually not allowed to work in the U.S. after graduation. One requirement for issuance of an F-1 visa is that you can prove you intend to return to your home country after your studies are completed. Thus, you may remain in the U.S. as long as you are enrolled in the school to complete your academic program. After the program ends, you will have 60 days to depart the U.S.

In order to remain in the U.S. past this point, you will need to be offered a temporary or permanent position of employment.

^ Can my employer file a green card for me?

With some exceptions, U.S. employers seeking to hire foreign nationals on a permanent basis must first secure a “labor certification” on the employee’s behalf. A labor certification is a determination by the U.S. Department of Labor that (1) there is no qualified, available U.S. worker who meets the minimum requirements to fill the position offered, and (2) employment of the foreign national will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers.

These requirements present significant hurdles for a U.S. employer, and it is because one of the Department of Labor’s missions is to ensure that American citizens are given priority over any job in which an able, willing, and qualified U.S. worker is available. Assuming, though, that an application for a labor certification on your behalf is granted, your employer can then begin the process of seeking a green card on your behalf through the filing of Form I-140 ((Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).

There are five employment-based (EB) categories that determine whether or not an employer needs to apply for a labor certification on behalf of a current or potential foreign national employee, because some categories do not require labor certification. See below as to whether a labor certification may be required on your behalf. Note that foreign nationals who fall under the first preference category may file an I-140 immigrant visa petition on their own with no assistance from an employer:

^ When is a labor certification not required?

Labor certification not required to be filed by employer:

Employment-Based Preference Category Qualifications
EB-1-1 Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics
EB-1-2 Outstanding professors and researcher
EB-1-3 Multinational executives

^ When is labor certification required?

Labor certification required to be filed by employer:

With some exceptions, labor certification is required for the second (EB-2) and third (EB-3) preference categories:

Employment-Based Preference Category Qualifications
EB-2-1 Advanced degree in a professional field
EB-2-2 Exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business
EB-2-3 Skilled and unskilled workers
EB-3-1 Bachelor’s degree in the field related to the job

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