A visitor can become permanent resident in United States by using one of the following three pathways: family-sponsored immigration, employment-based immigration or public-policy/humanitarian immigration.
Employment-based immigration is limited by the Section 201 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) to about 140,000 visas per year. The 140,000 visas are allocated among countries of origin. The limit per country is seven percent of the visas, or about 25,620 visas per country. Some categories and countries become oversubscribed, and queues develop. In the recent years China, India, Mexico and the Philippines have been the most affected.
There are five employment-based immigration preferences. Only the first three categories are designed for academic settings:
To qualify for lawful permanent residence in the second or third category, a person generally must have permanent labor certification and an offer of permanent, full-time employment from a U.S. employer.
Permanent labor certification is granted by the Department of Labor. It certifies two findings per INA Â§212(a)(5)(A):
Certain exceptions can apply to the permanent-labor certification, such as Schedule A and a national interest waiver. Schedule A includes certain occupations for which there aren't enough U.S. workers who are willing, able, qualified and available to work in these occupations, as determined by the Department of Labor.
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