For many outside the US, employment holds the key to success inside American borders. Although dissatisfied Americans may complain about the current economic slowdown, what appears to lifelong American citizens as a recession strikes many potential immigrants as rare economic opportunity. As a result, individuals from the world over compete for relatively few slots available for legal residency based on permanent employment in the US.
In order to qualify for this employment-based immigration, foreign nationals must already be eligible for one of the existing methods of lawful residency under current US Immigration Law. If that is the case, the employer must file a request with the US Department of Labor before the process can proceed further. If the Department of Labor approves this request, the employer is then able to file an immigrant visa petition. Under this arrangement, the employer is, in effect, acting as the sponsor of the foreign national, vouching for his employment and suitability for US residency
If things proceed smoothly, the foreign applicant will then receive an immigrant visa number (even if they are already in the US on a temporary visa). Once this number becomes available and is assigned to the applicant, the only remaining step is to enter the US (if he is outside) or apply to convert the immigrant visa into a permanent residency (if he’s already inside).
Typically, permanent residency based on employment requires that the applicant demonstrate extraordinary giftedness, achievement, or creativity. However, one program does exist to allow foreign medical professionals to enter the US in order to set up practices in areas of the US that are underserved by the existing medical infrastructure of America.