Both Schedule A Exceptional Ability in Sciences or arts and Eb-1A Extraordinary Ability are immigrant categories. However, there are major differences between these two categories. For example, Eb-1A does not require employer sponsorship and permanent job offer. But Schedule A requires permanent employment from a U.S. employer.
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The current list of Schedule A occupations include:
- Physical Therapists - who possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination in the state in which they propose to practice physical therapy; and
- Professional Nurses - the alien (i) has a Commission on Graduates in Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certificate, (ii) the alien has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses exam, or (iii) the alien holds a full and unrestricted (permanent) license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment.
- Sciences or arts (except performing arts) - Aliens (except for aliens in the performing arts) of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts including college and university teachers of exceptional ability who have been practicing their science or art during the year prior to application and who intend to practice the same science or art in the United States. For purposes of this group, the term "science or art" means any field of knowledge and/or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge and/or skill. An alien, however, need not have studied at a college or university in order to qualify for the Group II occupation.
- Performing arts - Aliens of exceptional ability in the performing arts whose work during the past 12 months did require, and whose intended work in the United States will require, exceptional ability.
Schedule A is a list of occupations for which the Department has determined there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available. In addition, Schedule A establishes that the employment of aliens in such occupations will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.
Many employment based immigration categories require a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor before a petition can be filed with USCIS. Schedule A occupations are pre-certified by the Department of Labor, therefore petitioner can skip the Labor Certification process and file petition with USCIS directly.