Volume 7, Number 2
March 8, 2011
The Communiqué is an on-going series of messages to departments who sponsor international scholars at Boston University. With the Communiqué, we offer information that helps in the processing of scholar immigration-related documents and petitions. We hope you find the Communiqué a useful tool in working with the ISSO and in successfully hiring and sponsoring scholars from around the world. Past Communiqués are archived on our web site. Click here to go to the archive page.
Major USCIS Overhaul of I-129 Petition Triggers Significant Changes to ISSO Forms
The USCIS recently made significant changes to the Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, the twelve-page form which is used by the ISSO to request immigration sponsorship on behalf of foreign national employees in H-1B, O-1 and TN immigration categories.
Key changes to I-129 Petition include:
- Significant new attestations required by the sponsoring employer to indicate that the foreign national employee will not have access to controlled technologies and technical data that would be subject to deemed export controls.
- New questions related to whether a foreign national will be employed at secondary sites of employment beyond the primary address listed on the I-129.
- More specific questions related to an employee’s past US immigration history, including time spent in a J category.
- New employer attestations related to the USCIS right to conduct audits and on-site compliance reviews of foreign national records.
In a recent distributed memo, Dr. Ara Tahmassian, Associate Vice President for Research Compliance to the BU Research Community, highlighted the importance of the new attestations required by sponsoring employers using the revised Form I-129. For the first time, the Form I-129 will require Boston University to attest that the sponsored foreign national employee will not have access to export-controlled technology or technical data except as permitted by export control laws. A copy of Dr. Tahmassian’s memo is available on the website for the Office of Sponsored Programs, which oversees matters of university compliance with regard to export control laws.
In order to account for the new questions posed and the new attestations required on the updated I-129, the ISSO has significantly reworked our Form A “Request for Visa-Related Documents for an International Scholar” as well as the Form B “Scholar Information” Form.
In modifying our forms, we have also made certain additional changes, including:
- Clarifications to the language on the forms to better account for extension requests and sponsorship of persons in graded staff positions.
- New questions required for sponsorship in the J-1 “Student Intern” category which the ISSO began using in 2010.
- Changes to the Form A – H-1B Supplement, including the addition of a Chart on “Minimum Job Requirements for Immigration Sponsorship by BU Academic Title” in order to better assist departments in calculating the minimum job requirements for H-1B sponsorship in light of the new Academic Research Job Family Matrix rolled out by BU in 2010.
- More comprehensive questions related to the scholar’s academic credentials to assist us in better accessing the US equivalency of a scholar’s academic history.
- More comprehensive questions related to the scholar’s immigration history, dependent family members and international travel plans to assist us in better advising the scholar during immigration sponsorship
As the new Form I-129 is already in effect, the ISSO will require use of the new Form A, H-1B Supplement and Form B effective immediately for all new requests submitted to the ISSO. Departments who recently submitted a request to the ISSO using the older forms may be asked to sign the new attestations separately to ensure that the ISSO can file a petition on behalf of the sponsored scholar. Older versions of ISSO form will no longer be accepted.
We would recommend that all departments familiarize themselves with the content of the new forms, paying particular attention to the new attestations being made by sponsoring departments.
In order to assist Boston University administrators, hosts and department contacts, the ISSO has prepared highlighted PDF versions of each form to clarify identify key changes made:
The forms are highlighted to identify modifications, as follows:
- Yellow – Denotes changes related to new export control attestations on revised I-129 (H-1B form).]
- Green – Denotes changes related to other immigration-related changes (new J category, I-129 revised language, etc.).
- Blue – Denotes other changes to the forms related to improved ISSO processing
While many of the ISSO form changes were instigated by the revised I-129, we believe other changes made will streamline ISSO processing of immigration requests as we will have more complete and accurate information related to the scholar’s history, personal situation and eligibility for sponsorship.
Questions related to the new forms can be addressed directly to Andrea Popa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Scholar Services team,
Olivia K. Whitman
International Scholar Advisor
International Scholar Advisor—CharlesRiver Campus
M. Andrea Popa
Assistant Director for Scholar Services
Jeanne E. Kelley
International Students & Scholars Office
888 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: (617) 353-3565
Fax: (617) 358-1170