When companies think about hiring high-skilled foreign-born talent in the US, the most common visa that comes to mind is the H-1B visa. Despite its popularity, the H-1B visa is also fraught with challenges, including increasingly lower chances of being selected in the lottery, increased H-1B fees, and long green card backlogs.
However, there is one visa program that employers don’t discuss as often: the EB1C immigrant visa program, which could provide exactly what you need without the uncertainty and headache of the H-1B visa.
This article is going to dive into the EB-1C visa program, what it’s all about, and how US employers can use it to hire high-skilled workers when other options aren’t available.
What is the EB-1C visa?
The EB-1C visa specifically targets management and executive-level employees who are seeking permanent residency in the US with their families, as opposed to non-immigrant visas like the H-1B or L-1 which are temporary work visas.
The EB-1C is an ideal option for a qualifying employee to transfer from a foreign company to a related US company. It can also suit companies looking to expand their business within the United States who want to transfer a member of management to oversee the start-up process.
There are some specific eligibility requirements that need to be met by both the petitioning employer and employee to qualify for this visa, including:
- The petitioning employer must be a US employer who has been operational for at least a year.
- The petitioning employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company — namely an affiliate, subsidiary, or being part of the same corporation.
- The employee must have been working for the foreign company for at least one year in the three years preceding the petition.
- The employee must have experience in a managerial or executive position and be employed in the US at this level.
To begin the process, the US employer must file a petition and demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the offered salary. There are a number of ways to do this, including accounting reports and income tax filings. There are also specific forms to fill out which are best discussed with a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer who can establish which evidence is best suited to each specific case. Perhaps most importantly, no labor certification is required which can speed up the process significantly.
The EB1-C visa is not eligible for self-petition so sponsorship is needed. Candidates need to demonstrate evidence of a permanent job offer in the US, their education, and their ability to conduct business at a sufficiently managerial or executive level.
If the applicant is outside the US when applying, they will need to go through consular processing. Normally, it will take about eight months for a person to have their EB-1C visa approved and a further six months to approve permanent residency, though because of COVID, processing times vary. The employee will also be able to obtain a green card for their spouse and children under twenty-one years old.
Now that we know a bit about the EB-1C visa and the process around it, the big question remains: how can US employers avoid the H-1B visa headache and instead potentially use the EB-1C to bring high-skilled employees into the US?
How can companies utilize the EB-1C program to hire skilled workers and avoid the H-1B visa?
So how can employers utilize the EB-1C to hire skilled workers that they would otherwise try to hire under the H-1B program? Since the EB-1C requires some managerial or executive experience at an overseas office, affiliate or subsidiary, the petitioning employer has to first hire the individual outside the US.
One underutilized but highly effective way to do this is via the EU Blue Card, Europe’s “answer to” the Green Card. It offers a work and residence permit for skilled non-EU nationals, as well as their spouse and children, with a pathway to permanent residence in one of twenty-five participating EU countries if desired.
Of course, if the end goal is to move the individual to the US via the EB-1C program, the idea would be to first hire them in the EU with a plan to move the individual into a managerial or executive role. This will enable the individual to obtain the experience they need in this capacity before starting the application for the EB-1C, thus completely skipping the need for the H-1B and its uncertainties, long pathway to residency, and for some, a decades-long green card backlog, altogether.
A significant advantage of the EU Blue Card over the H1-B visa is a maximum processing time of ninety days, making this a much more efficient solution overall. Especially as the individual will be gaining necessary experience in the meantime rather than being caught in H1-B limbo.
Many US companies, including those with an existing presence in the EU, aren’t fully aware of the Blue Card, and continue to feel frustrated with the H-1B process when trying to bring a high-skilled worker into the US. Well, the good news is that Global RCG can help companies navigate the web of international relocation and immigration with creative global mobility solutions.
How can Global RCG can help US companies hire and retain skilled talent using the EU Blue Card?
Global RCG is the first U.S.-based advisory firm built to address the international mobility and residency challenges faced by globally-oriented individuals and remote-centric companies.
One of the ways we can help US companies hire and retain skilled talent, despite the challenges of the H-1B program in the US, is by using creative global mobility solutions. In this case, the EU Blue Card followed by an EB-1C visa as a long-term goal provides an ideal solution.
And the best way to do this is by initially hiring the employee in Germany and either immediately or after some time and with sufficient training, placing them in a managerial or executive role. Germany is an ideal choice because it’s the biggest economy in the EU and is also currently the highest issuer of EU Blue Cards.
For US employers that have a German office (or perhaps a presence elsewhere in the EU) this isn’t too difficult – we help you create a strategy to hire the worker in the EU using the EU Blue Card, employ them in a sufficient managerial or executive role, and then transfer them to the US under the EB-1C visa.
However, for US employers who don’t have a presence in the EU, Global RCG has a turnkey solution that helps US companies easily establish a German subsidiary. handle the worker’s immigration into Germany, and then strategize on giving the employee the right experience to ultimately bring them into the US under the EB-1C program.