- 2022 could be a great time to pursue an employment-based visa because the United States currently has a shortage of high-skilled workers.
- There are significant nursing and physician shortages due to a variety of factors, including baby boomers needing more care.
- Other opportunities for immigrants include tech and financial jobs. Both industries also have WFH jobs that offer greater flexibility.
The United States has a shortage of high-skilled workers, which is good news for potential immigrants. According to a recent New American Economy report, employers want to fill that gap with immigrant talent.¹ In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently launched an initiative advocating for an increase in employment-based immigration to help end the shortage.²
If you’re considering immigrating to the United States, then you should familiarize yourself with the visa process and job market. Let’s dig into the details and explore the top seven job opportunities for immigrants.
Employment-Based Visa Categories
To start your immigration journey, you’ll want to figure out which visa option makes the most sense for your background. Since international citizens who want to work in the U.S. have several visa options, we’ve outlined common types below.
EB-1 First Preference Immigration Category
- Reserved for those with “extraordinary ability”
- For example, Nobel Prize winners and multinational CEOs
- Generally has the shortest waiting time
EB-2 Second Preference Immigration Category
- Primarily for career paths that require an advanced degree
- For example, physicians and computer and information research scientists
- Typically has a short waiting period
EB-3 Third Preference Immigration Category
- Meant for career paths that require a Bachelor’s degree
- Since this is a more accessible route, wait times tend to be longer
- However, you may be able to get an H-1B visa while you wait
H-1B Visa Program
- Temporary nonimmigrant worker visa
- Intended for positions that require at least a Bachelor’s degree
- Could be a way to work in the U.S. while waiting to complete the EB process
1. Nursing Jobs
There’s been a nursing shortage in the United States since 2012. Several factors are contributing to the shortage, including an aging population that needs more care and nursing burnout. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this will lead to about 194,500 openings for registered nurses (RNs) every year for the next decade.³
As a result, many hospitals want to hire immigrant nurses. As a matter of fact, ABC News says that “demand for international nurses has risen between 300% and 400%” in the last two years.⁴ The U.S. has a few requirements for international RNs. According to Nurse.org, you must:⁵
- Have a degree from an accredited RN program
- Be licensed as a registered nurse
- Have at least two years of experience as an RN
- Complete a Foreign-Educated Nurses (FEN) refresher course
- Be proficient in English
- Pass the NCLEX-RN Examination
2. Tech Jobs
CNBC says that “immigrants made up about 25% of the computer workforce in 2019.” And according to the source, seven of the 10 fastest-growing occupations for immigrants are tech jobs, including computer systems engineer, IT project manager, and software quality assurance analyst.⁶ Additionally, the tech sector includes non-technical positions like social media manager and human resources.
Immigrants who move to the United States to work in the tech industry often enter the country with a temporary H-1B visa, according to OnlineVisas.⁷ The source explains that if you come to the country with an H-1B visa, that can then lead to an EB-2 or EB-3 visa.
3. Financial Jobs
According to BLS, employment in business and financial positions is projected to grow eight percent by 2030, creating about 750,800 new jobs in the industry.⁸ The source says demand is expected to be especially high for accountants, auditors, and market research analysts.
Requirements to work in the financial industry as an immigrant depends on the position. If the job doesn’t require certification of some sort, then it’s up to the employer to decide if your education and background meet their requirements.
However, working as a certified public accountant (CPA) requires passing the CPA examination and licensure. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), every state has its own requirements.⁹ But across the board, you must take the examination in English. It’s also worth noting that international testing is offered in England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Bahrain, Brazil, Kuwait, Japan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
4. WFH Jobs
Many of us have changed the way we work over the past couple of years. As a result, lots of companies have adopted flexible work arrangements that allow employees to go fully or partially remote. Tech and financial companies are especially likely to offer a WFH option. HubbleHQ says notable companies offering hybrid or remote-first approaches include Salesforce, Slack, Capital One, HSBC, and Twitter.
Visa holders can work remotely, but keep in mind that your employer may need to file an additional LCA. However, if your home is within commuting distance of the office, then Stilt says your employer likely won’t need to take that step.¹⁰
5. Physician Jobs
Like nurses, the United States is also facing a physician shortage. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the country could see a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034.¹¹ While it may be conventional wisdom that the greatest need is in primary care, Fortune says specialists are in just as much if not more demand.¹²
Immigrants have an opportunity to fill that gap. As it is, immigrants already make up a significant 29% of physicians in the United States, according to Migration Policy Institute.¹³ Requirements will vary depending on where you want to live. But generally, according to workpermit.com, you must:¹⁴
- Be a graduate of an accredited medical school
- Have a license to practice medicine
- Pass the appropriate examinations (USMLE, NBME, or FLEX)
- Be proficient in English
However, there is a notable exception if you graduated from a U.S. medical school. In that case, you only need to show you graduated from an accredited medical school and have the appropriate state license to practice medicine in the country as an immigrant.
6. Health Tech Jobs
Many health systems have now embraced telehealth in the past couple of years. And over the next five years, 80% of healthcare providers plan to invest more in health tech, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).¹⁵
Forbes says some of the biggest trends in health tech include developing wearable tech that allows doctors to monitor patients remotely and virtual reality headsets that can be used to train medical professionals.¹⁶ Unlike some health-related fields like nursing, working in health tech doesn’t require a license. Instead, like other tech jobs, employers generally set education and experience requirements.
7. Student Jobs
Part-time jobs can be a great way for international students to earn experience and extra money. But there are some restrictions to keep in mind. If you have an F-1 student visa, then reach out to your designated school official (DSO) to make sure any employment you accept complies with your visa.
Generally, international students can work on campus. For example, common student jobs include working in the school bookstore or a residence hall. International students may be allowed to work off-campus if they have a qualifying economic hardship. Additionally, optional practical training and internships may be permitted. Since there are a variety of restrictions, the Department of Homeland Security says your DSO can help you figure it out.¹⁷
Sites That Can Help Your Job Hunt
A job offer is generally required to start the employment-based visa application process, so it’s a good idea to get to know the various job-related sites out there. Here we’ve rounded up helpful employment websites to get you started:
- Upwardly Global: Non-profit that connects immigrants with U.S. employers
- USAHello: Non-profit with resources to help immigrants during the job hunting process
- Twinist: Minnesota-based non-profit created by an immigrant to help others find jobs
- Immigrant Welcome Center: Indianapolis-based non-profit with resources for immigrants
- Indeed: Job search site with millions of job listings from all over the U.S.
- USA Jobs: Federal government employment site for government jobs
Visa Application Process
According to the U.S. Department of State, about 140,000 employment-based visas are available every year. While the visa process has a reputation for being complex, we’ll walk you through an overview to help make navigating the system easier.¹⁸
For the most part, you’ll need a job offer to begin the employment-based visa application process. In a nutshell:
- The prospective employer secures an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) and files an immigration petition on your behalf.
- Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the petition, it’s then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- At this point, NVC assigns a case number to your petition.
- When your petition’s wait time is over, you’ll submit the necessary documents and pay a fee. You’ll also complete a medical examination and get any required vaccinations.
- After that, you’ll be interviewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If your application is approved, then you’ll be given the documents you need to enter the country to work.
As we previously mentioned, you’ll be asked for certain documents during the visa application process. Commonly required documents include:¹⁹
- Valid passport
- DS-260 form
- Two 2×2 photographs
- Civil documents (birth certificate, etc.)
- Medical examination forms
- Proof of financial support
The necessary documents may vary somewhat depending on your specific situation. So, before submitting your documentation to NVC, double-check that you’ve gathered all of the required documents and paperwork.
The Bottom Line
The United States doesn’t have enough high-skilled workers to meet current and future demands. For instance, a New American Economy report found that for every unemployed computer worker in the U.S., there were more than seven computer-related job openings in 2020.
Beyond tech, the healthcare and financial sectors also need more high-skilled workers. In short: there are opportunities for immigrants in many fields. Given these points, 2022 could be a great time to pursue employment-based immigration.