Approximately 140,000 immigrant visas are available each fiscal year for foreign nationals (and their spouses and children) who seek to immigrate based on their job skills. If you obtain one of the visas, you are allowed to work and live permanently in the U.S. The majority of international teachers in the U.S. seek the permanent residency through their employment relationship.
International teachers having a permanent job offer usually apply for an EB-2 or EB-3 visa. A teacher coming to teach at a school that requires at least a Master’s degree applies for an EB-2 visa; a teacher coming to teach at a school that requires a Bachelor’s degree applies for an EB-3 visa.
Immigrant workers (teachers) are distinguished from non-immigrant temporary workers, who have visa limitation for the types and duration of employment. Immigrant workers are virtually the same as American workers. Their employment is for an indefinite period of time, which could be terminated “at-will” for bona fide reasons. There is no obligation for the U.S. employer to hire an immigrant worker for a set period of time. A teacher is different because he or she would normally have a teaching contract.
Teachers Council has been successful for over 18 years in assisting over 1,000 teachers, from countries throughout the world, in obtaining EB2/3 Visas in cooperation with over 100 participating schools. Teachers may either adjust from an F1 or H-1B Visa to EB2/3 or directly apply for the EB2/3 Visa.
The teacher will be able to bring their spouse, who can also work in the U.S., and their children, who will be able to attend school without cost. The teacher and all family members will obtain permanent residency visa (Green Card).
Approximately 40,040 visas (28.6% of the employment-based immigrant visas) are issued for immigrants categorized as “EB-2 Advanced Degree Professionals.” If international teachers have accepted the school’s job offer and have a Master’s degree in their teaching specialty, the teachers are considered “member[s] of the professions holding an advanced degree” and are therefore eligible for the EB-2 Visa. The job which the teacher was hired for must require an advanced degree and the teacher must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). The teacher must present documentation proving eligibility, such as an official academic record showing that the teacher has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that the teacher has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree, and letters from current or former employers proving that the teacher has at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.
In the group of EB-3 Permanent Visa workers, there are 3 subcategories: (a) Professional Workers with at least a Bachelor’s degree; (b) Skilled Workers with at least 2 years of experience or training relevant to the position offered; and (c) Unskilled Workers with less than 2 years of experience and training. Most of the international teachers belong to the subgroup (a) “Professional Workers”. Approximately 40,040 visas are issued for this immigrant group, and out of the visa cap each year, 30,040 visas will be issued for the combined subgroups of “Skilled Workers” and “Professional Workers,” and 10,000 for “Unskilled Workers”.
The visa applicant (teacher) should be able to present documentation supporting their eligibility, such as an official academic record showing that they have a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree.
The EB-2/EB-3 permanent work visa application requires filing documents from both the job-offering employer and the hired foreign worker (teacher). The knowledge required to prepare and file the visa application is highly technical and very complicated, which usually requires retainment of an immigration attorney who could prepare and file the application on behalf the employer and hired worker. Following are steps of the official application procedure, each of which is served by the attorney.
Step 1 — Application for Labor Certification: Employer submits an application (ETA Form 9089) to the U.S. Department of Labor for a Permanent Employment Certification (“Labor Certification”), in which the Government certifies that there is insufficient number of qualified U.S. workers who are currently available for the employer’s job vacancies, and that hiring foreign workers will not adversely affect the U.S. workers’ current working conditions.
Step 2 — Petition for Immigrant Worker: Upon receiving the Labor Certification, the Employer submits an immigrant visa petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign teacher. The employer needs to prove that the foreign teacher has the necessary qualifications to perform the
job duties at the position offered and that the employer has sufficient funds to pay the wages offered to the beneficiary teacher.
Step 3 – Application for Permanent Resident Status: After the Employer secures (with help from the immigration attorney) the first 2 steps of the immigration proceeding, the beneficiary teacher applies for the permanent resident status, so that the teacher can begin work at the employer school. A teacher who is already in the U.S. needs to submit a Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status. If the teacher is outside the U.S. at the time of application, the teacher must submit a Form DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa. Once the teacher commences (or continues) employment based on the residency visa (“green card”), the employment relationship becomes “at-will”, subject to the contract the school might have with the teacher.
There will be no additional requirements for the employment of foreign teacher, except the general federal and state laws that apply. The retained attorney will prepare and file the necessary documents on behalf of the teacher and the school.