Employment Third Preference (EB3) – Skilled or Professional Workers

This classification includes:

  • Skilled workers — persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature;
  • Professionals whose job requires at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent;
  • Unskilled workers — unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

This is usually the fallback category for foreign nationals who do not qualify under the advanced degree (EB2) classification.

This classification also requires the employer to initiate the labor certification process or PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) by filing Forms ETA 9141 (prevailing wage determination), and then ETA 9089 (Labor Certification).

Foreign national employees should always seek to get their green card through the EB2 category over EB3 because it can make a huge difference in terms of the waiting period it takes to acquire permanent residence. Not only is the wait list for EB2 usually much shorter compared to EB3, but the priority dates for EB3 frequently retrogress or become unavailable for nationals of certain countries, including India and China.

As is typically the case, the number of applications exceeds the total number of visas available for that year. Thus, even if the foreign nationals I-140 is approved under the EB3 category, he or she will most likely not be able to file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to obtain permanent residency because the priority date is not current for that category.

Please view the Visa Bulletin updated on the U.S. Department of State’s website (http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1770.html) for more information on the availability of priority dates for various immigrant categories.