Understanding Employment-Based Visas

What Governor Snyder is proposing:

Governor Snyder has called for the federal government to designate 50,000 employment-based visas (EB visas) for skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs during the next five years. The visas would seek to attract highly-skilled, entrepreneurial, legal immigrants who commit to living and working in Detroit, thereby contributing to its economic and population growth.

What is a visa?

A visa is a document that grants someone permission to be in the United States if they are not a citizen of our country.

What is an employment-based visa?

The U.S. government issues special “employment-based” visas to people who have special education, training or work in certain professions and that allows a person to gain employment-based permanent residency. There are five types of employment-based visas, each of which has unique eligibility requirements.

What type of EB visas is Governor Snyder requesting?

Governor Snyder is requesting an allocation of EB visas from all five preference categories for Michigan, based on the “National Interest Waiver” found within EB-2 visa. He is particularly focused on attracting individuals who are "members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent" and "individuals who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States."

What is a National Interest Waiver?

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition falls into the employment-based immigration, second preference (EB2) category. While employer-based visas require a worker to have an existing job, EB-2 visas specifically contain an exception known as a “National Interest Waiver” which waives that requirement. A national interest waiver recognizes the urgency of supplying talented individuals to meet an important need. Governor Snyder is proposing that “national interest” be applied to Detroit in this case to allow advanced degree holders, entrepreneurs and other skilled immigrants to contribute to the city’s economic and population growth.

Individuals who receive an Employment-Based visa under Governor Snyder’s proposal must live and work in Detroit.

How many EB visas is Michigan requesting?

Michigan is requesting 50,000 visas over five years. Detroit would be allotted 5,000 visas in the first year; 10,000 each year in the second, third and fourth years; and 15,000 in the fifth year.