Laws covering immigration in the United States include family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, refugees and asylees, a diversity visa program, humanitarian relief and U.S. citizenship, states the American Immigration Council. The Immigration and Naturalization Act contains a body of laws pertaining to U.S. immigration policies, as of 2015.
Family-based immigration pertains to current citizens or legal permanent residents who wish to bring family members to the United States from another country, reports the American Immigration Council. This law allows for 480,000 family-based visas to be allotted annually, as of 2015. Candidates for this type of immigration must be immediate relatives of current citizens, legal permanent residents or have gone through the family preference system. These relatives include spouses of citizens, minor children and parents of U.S. citizens. The number of family-based visas distributed annually often exceeds the limit of 480,000 due to additional visas provided by the family preference system.
Employment-based immigration contains two categories: temporary work visas and permanent residents. Currently, there are more than 20 types of visas that can be obtained by skilled, temporary nonimmigrant workers, states the American Immigration Council. A set total of 140,000 visas per year may be distributed to skilled workers, as long as those workers fall into one of five preference categories. These categories are persons of extraordinary ability; members of professions holding advanced degrees; skilled workers with at least two years of training; special immigrants, such as religious workers; and persons who invest $500,000 to $1 million in employment-generating enterprises.