The third preference visa category is EB3. This visa category is for professionals, skilled, or other workers.
Who is Eligible?
There are three groups of people who are eligible for the EB3 visa category. The first group is professionals:
Professionals should at minimum hold a bachelor's degree, or the foreign equivalent and work in the field in which they earned their degree. A professional, for purposes of this visa category, can also be someone who is a member of the profession.
The second group is classified as skilled workers:
A skilled worker would be someone at a job which requires full-time permanent employment. This excludes all forms of seasonal and/or temporary employment. The position should also require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience. Vocational training can be considered as training in many instances, however, it should still meet the two-year minimum requirement.
The third group is for other workers. This group consists of jobs that require less than two (2) years of training. Similar to the Skilled Worker, these jobs cannot be temporary or for seasonal hire. There should also be a shortage of qualified U.S. workers for these types of positions.
What is Needed?
When applying under the EB3 category, every petition should be accompanied by a Labor Certification. The applicant should have a valid offer of a full-time, permanent employment. Unfortunately, a National Interest Waiver is not available to applicants filing under the EB3 category. There some jobs which can forego the labor market test, however these jobs may still require an ETA 750 (foreign labor certification) and have other criteria Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative.
Separating Professionals, Skilled Workers and Other Workers
A consideration for applicants under the EB3 category may be the processing times or backlogs for the groups of eligibility. Therefore it is important to know the distinguishing characteristics of which group an applicant classifies as.
A handy reference is the Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH). This handbook is issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Contained in the handbook are education and experience requirements for occupations. It is important to note that these requirements pertain to the entry barrier of the occupation. In other words, the primary focus is not on those who are already employed, but merely the entry requirements. This means that there may be some people employed in these jobs with training and experience that exceeds those listed in the OOH. This further means that a petition may be approved even if the duties of the job are more complex than those which have been listed in the OOH. Another source is the O*NET. This is an electronic system that identifies the positions of employment in the United States. This provides an excellent reference, however shouldn't be used literally. It is best suited as a guideline.
Another guideline is the Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP). This guideline is generally used to classify the experience, training and education that the Department of Labor believes is necessary for each job. This training and experience is based on an average performance in a specific job-worker position. A system of levels is used to determine the amount of preparation for each job. The levels range from 1-10. A level of 6 or higher is required to bypass a classification of other worker. Recently, more and more uses of the Specific Vocational Preparation are being replaced by the use of the O*NET system instead.
Finally, the Department of Labor provides a list of professional occupations for Labor Certifications which require a bachelor's degree at minimum. The Department of Labor requires that this list be used only to determine the form of recruitment in Labor Certification cases. Furthermore, if a position has been listed, professional recruitment needs to used, regardless if the position requires a bachelor's degree (or foreign equivalent) or higher.