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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

The ABCs of Immigration - Labor Certifications - Schedule A, Group II
by Greg Siskind and Amy Ballentine

We originally did not cover Group II of the Schedule A list of occupations that are precertified by the Department of Labor when we first covered employment based immigration topics, largely because since 1990, it has been of questionable use. However, one of the attorneys in the firm, Cynthia Ryan, recently had such a case approved. Therefore, we thought it appropriate to discuss the topic.

Ordinarily those who wish to immigrate to the US through employment must obtain a certification from the Department of Labor verifying that their employment will not harm the wages or working conditions of US workers, and that there is no US worker available for the position. This requirement does not apply to those in the first employment based preference category, nor to a limited number of second preference based petitions for which a national interest waiver is granted. There are some jobs for which a labor certification is required, but where the Department of Labor has declared there are existing shortages of workers such that the recruitment campaign need not be conducted. These positions are found on Schedule A. Group I of Schedule A, consisting of physical therapists and nurses, is covered at http://www.visalaw.com/00nov4/12nov400.html.

Group II of Schedule A includes people of exceptional ability in the sciences and the arts (except for the performing arts.) To qualify, the applicant must have been involved in the area for at least the year prior to making the application. Also, they must be engaged in a science or art, which is defined as a “field of knowledge and/or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses.” The applicant, however, does not need to have a college degree to qualify.

Exceptional ability is evidence that the applicant’s work is outstanding and far greater than others in the field. In addition, applicants must submit at least two of the following seven types of evidence:

  • Receipt of international recognized prizes or awards,
  • Membership in international organizations that require outstanding achievement for membership,
  • Published material about the applicant in professional publications,
  • Participations as a judge of the work of others in the field,
  • Original scientific or scholarly contributions of significance,
  • Authorship of published scientific or scholarly articles in professional journals, and
  • Display of work at exhibitions in two or more countries.
These requirements make Group II very similar to the first employment-based preference category. However, there are some important differences. First, only two types of evidence need to be presented in a Group II application, whereas the EB-1 preference requires three. However, the EB-1 classification allows more types of evidence to be presented, for example, nationally recognized awards rather than internationally recognized ones. Despite this, the EB-1 requirement that the applicant have reached the very top of their field is stricter than the exceptional ability standard of Group II.


About The Author

Gregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.

After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Gregory Siskind went on to receive his law degree from the University of Chicago. For the past several years, he has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and he currently serves as a member of the organization's Technology Committee. He is the current committee chair for the Nashville Bar Association's International Section. Greg is a member of the American Bar Association where he serves on the LPM PublishGregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.

Greg regularly writes on the subject of immigration law. He has written several hundred articles on the subject and is also the author of the new book The J Visa Guidebook, published by Matthew Bender and Company, one of the nation's leading legal publishers. He is working on another book for Matthew Bender on entertainment and sports immigration.

Greg is also, in many ways, a pioneer in the use of the Internet in the legal profession. He was one of the first lawyers in the country (and the very first immigration lawyer) to set up a web site for his practice. And he was the first attorney in the world to distribute a firm newsletter via e-mail listserv. Mr. Siskind is the author of the American Bar Association's best selling book, The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. He has been interviewed and profiled in a number of leading publications and media including USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Lawyers Weekly, the ABA Journal, the National Law Journal, American Lawyer, Law Practice Management Magazine, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the Washington Post. As one of the leading experts in the country on the use of the Internet in a legal practice, Greg speaks regularly at forums across the United States, Canada and Europe.

In his personal life, Greg is the husband of Audrey Siskind and the proud father of Eden Shoshana and Lily Jordana. He also enjoys collecting rare newspapers and running in marathons and triathlons. He can be reached by email at GSiskind@visalaw.com

Amy Ballentine is an associate in Siskind, Susser & Haas's Memphis, Tennessee office. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Rhodes College in 1994. While in law school at the University of Memphis she was a member of the law review staff as well as a published author. She also worked with the local public defender’s office in death penalty cases. In May 1999, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Memphis Law School. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached by email at aballentine@visalaw.com


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