There are many reasons immigrants choose to come to the United States. One of those reasons is for better employment opportunities. As an employer, you know the value of a strong workforce in your company, regardless of an employee’s country of origin.

Immigrants often need a new employer’s help applying for a visa. To properly and efficiently assist your future employees, it is important to understand how employment visas work.

The two most common visas employees would apply for are EB-2s and EB-3s. Below are the main differences between each visa.


The EB-2 preference category is for persons with “exceptional ability” and whose jobs require a more advanced education. Applicants must already have the degree needed for the position or its equivalent, and evidence of said degree.

Those without a degree but who have an “exceptional ability” must be able to show evidence of said ability, which means meeting at least three of the necessary criteria. They include:

  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in an occupation
  • A license or certification to practice an occupation
  • Evidence of earning a salary for services that demonstrate the ability
  • Membership in a professional association
  • Recognition for achievements or other significant contributions to an industry or field


The EB-3 preference category is for workers who are professionals, skilled workers and unskilled workers. These potential employees do not need to prove they have an advanced degree, but they do have other requirements:

  • Professionals: These applicants should have a U.S. degree or foreign degree equivalent
  • Skilled workers: These applicants must be able to prove they have at least two years of job experience or training
  • Unskilled workers: These applicants must be capable of performing unskilled labor, which requires fewer than two years of experience or training, that is not a temporary or seasonal position

All EB-3 applicants must have a labor certification; a permanent, full-time job offer; and be performing work for which qualified workers are not readily available in the U.S.


Both EB-2 and EB-3 visas typically require you to obtain the approval of a PERM application from the U.S. Department of Labor before you can sponsor a potential employee for lawful permanent residence. Both applications also experience a large backlog for applicants from China and India, as these countries have large populations and a high demand for EB visas.


However, with the right paperwork and an understanding of what your potential employee needs to provide for an application to be successful, hiring a strong workforce from outside the U.S. can be incredibly rewarding.