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Understanding Employment Preferences for U.S. Visas

When you're planning a move to the U.S. for work, obtaining the necessary Visa is a key part of the process. At the time of this post, U.S. immigration law allows for the issuance of around 140,000 work-related visas from October 1st of each calendar year to September 30th of the following calendar year.


To receive one of these visas, your employer must submit a form on your behalf. Then, the form is reviewed and prioritized based on the U.S. Employment Preference system. The purpose of this system is to grant admittance first to workers with the highest skill levels. Whether or not your Visa is likely to be approved will depend upon your Employment Preference level, how many other applicants have filed for a Visa and where the other applicants fall on the Employment Preference scale.

There are five preference levels for those wanting a Visa to move to the U.S., but most people will fall within the first three.


First Preference (E1) - To qualify under E1, you must meet one of three characteristics:

  • Have exceptional special abilities in the arts, science, business, education or athletics that have made you famous in your field either here in Australia or throughout the world 
  • Be an internationally-recognized professor or researcher
  • Be a manager or executive of a multi-national company with at least three years of work experience with your employer

Second Preference (E2) - There are two possible qualifications for E2:

  • Holding an advanced degree beyond a baccalaureate or a bachelor's degree plus five years of work experience in your field 
  • Proven exceptional ability in the arts, science, business, education or athletics that is above the average

Third Preference (E3) - If you do not qualify for the E2 level, you'll likely be considered as one of three E3 groups:

  • Skilled workers who have received at least two years of training in a field
  • Professional workers who have a bachelor's degree
  • Unskilled workers who are able to work but have less than two years of training in a field 

For more information about obtaining Employment-Based Immigrant Visas, feel free to give us a call at Chess Moving. As a part of our international moving services, we can help put you in touch with experts who can provide you with further advice.


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