Sponsoring Foreign Nationals for Permanent Residence

In order to comply with new federal regulations regarding sponsorship of foreign nationals for permanent residence (a “green card”), and to provide greater clarity regarding the University’s internal procedures for approval of such sponsorship, the Office of the Provost is issuing the following revised policy concerning permanent residence sponsorship.

Positions that are Eligible for University Sponsorship

  1. Because obtaining permanent residence for a University employee requires a substantial commitment of University resources, University sponsorship for permanent residence should be requested of the Provost only where there is a compelling institutional need. In accordance with federal requirements, the University will sponsor a foreign national for permanent residence only when there is a reasonable expectation that the individual will continue to be employed by the University for a substantial period of time (generally three years or longer). If the University expects to employ a foreign national for a relatively shorter term, the employee may be sponsored for a temporary visa through the International Students & Scholars Office. Information regarding such visas is available at the ISSO website. Such visas, if renewed, may permit foreign nationals to work for the University for as long as six years in some cases.
  2. As a general rule, when appropriate, the University will sponsor foreign nationals who (1) are hired into a standard professorial faculty rank (unmodified assistant, associate, and full professors) and (2) are either tenured, tenure track, on long-term contracts, or medical campus faculty on rolling contracts. University sponsorship for all other full- time employees, including but not limited to lecturers, instructors, research faculty, clinical faculty, faculty practice plans members, research associates, and staff positions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Factors that will be considered in such a review include, but are not limited to: the length of time the individual has been employed at the University, the length of time the individual will continue to remain eligible for a temporary visa, the extent to which permanent residency is essential for the individuals’ continued employment or receipt of funding, and the consequences to the department or unit if the individual is not sponsored.

Timing of Sponsorship Requests

  1. For standard professorial rank faculty members who are either tenured, tenure track, on long-terms contracts or medical campus rolling appointments, sponsorship requests may be made as soon after hiring as appropriate. Note that, in order to take advantage of “special handling,” (which is further described in Section 5 below), labor certification forms must be filed with the Department of Labor within eighteen (18) months of the faculty member’s selection for the position. The clock starts running at the time the faculty member is offered the position and not when the appointment is approved.
  2. For all other employees, sponsorship requests should generally be made only after the employee has completed at least three years of employment at the University and, in the case of employees on H1-B visas, during the employee’s fourth year in H1-B visa status. Exceptions to this time frame may be made by the Provost on a case-by-case basis.

Retention of Immigration Counsel and Coverage of Expenses Associated with the Sponsorship

  1. Applying for employment-based permanent residence is a complex process and requires the assistance of an immigration attorney with particular expertise in the area of permanent residence applications for University faculty and researchers. Because all applications for permanent residence sponsorship are filed on behalf of the University as well as the employee, the University will select and retain the outside attorney who will prepare the actual filings.
  2. While employees may retain their own immigration counsel (at their expense) if they choose, they are not permitted to apply for permanent residence based on their employment at the University using any attorney not retained by the University.
  3. Once an individual has been approved for permanent residence sponsorship, decisions regarding payment of costs associated with the application process will be made by the Provost in accordance with the following guidelines:

Legal Fees: Legal fees are the professional, copying and mailing fees charged by the attorney who prepares and files the immigration case.

For standard professorial rank faculty members who are either tenured, tenure track, on long-terms contracts or medical campus rolling appointments, all legal fees will generally be covered by the University’s Office of the General Counsel.

For all other employees, the department or unit employing the individual is responsible for paying approximately half of the total expenses for legal fees and the employee is personally responsible for covering any remaining legal fees. Information regarding the amount of such fees can be found on the Sponsorship Request Form.

If, in order to preserve an employee’s eligibility for future H1-B extensions, a case must be filed within six months of the attorney’s receipt of notification of sponsorship approval, an expedite fee will be assessed to the case, payable by the Office of the General Counsel or the employing department/unit as appropriate.

Filing Fees: Filings fees are the fees that must be paid to the Immigration Service (USCIS) in connection with the filing of immigration applications and petitions

All employees are personally responsible for the filing fees which, at present, run approximately $2,000 for the employee. Additional fees will apply for any family members included on the petition.

Advertising Costs: Advertising costs are fees that need to be paid to advertise a position when required by the labor certification process

The department or unit employing the individual is responsible for paying such costs, which are likely to run between $1000 and $2000 depending on the ad size and the nature of the publication where the ad appears.

Process for Obtaining Approval of Sponsorship

Only the University Provost can approve requests for sponsorship, and no commitments to sponsor foreign nationals for permanent residence may be made without prior approval from the Office of the Provost.

To obtain permission for University sponsorship of a foreign national for permanent residence, the Dean of the school or college at which the foreign national will be employed (and the Medical Campus Provost, if applicable) must submit the following to the University Provost:

  1. the form entitled Request to University Provost for Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals for Permanent Residence Form, which is available to authorized individuals on the Office of the Provost website;
  2. a narrative justification for requesting sponsorship that includes plans for the foreign national’s long term employment; and
  3. the individual’s CV.

Please note: only the University Provost, Dr. Jean Morrison and Associate Provost Patricia O’Brien are authorized to sign the legal documents and forms required to apply for permanent residence. If you receive any immigration forms requiring an authorized signature, you must forward them to the Office of the Provost (attn: Annelle Castillo).

Special Note Regarding Hiring of Faculty Who Are Either Tenured, Tenure Track, On Long-Terms Contracts, Or Medical Campus Rolling Appointments

In many circumstances, foreign nationals who are hired for tenure track positions must obtain a “labor certification” from the U.S. Department of Labor in order to obtain permanent residence through employment. Under the immigration law, college and university teachers are accorded “special handling,” which allows the University to establish that it hired a foreign national after a competitive recruitment and selection process that included advertising in a national publication. Unlike a normal labor certification, special handling enables the University to hire the most qualified individual, without regard to whether other minimally qualified individuals are available.

To take advantage of “special handling,” the Department of Labor requires, in addition to filing a labor certification within 18 months of hiring, as set forth in Section 2 above, that advertising for the faculty position is in the form of a print ad. Online recruitment will not suffice to fulfill the advertising requirement. If you hire a foreign national after recruiting only online and then request the University to sponsor that individual for permanent residence, you will not be able to take advantage of the “special handling” process. This will increase the cost of obtaining permanent residence and will be much more time consuming for the individual and the University. For these reasons, it makes sense for your recruitment to include at least one print ad in a national publication if you anticipate that your candidates will be drawn from a pool that includes foreign nationals.

Effective July 16, 2007