Provide detailed information regarding internal procedures involved in sponsoring a non-resident alien employee currently holding an H-1B work authorization visa with Southern Connecticut State University.
The purpose of this document is to define institutional policy regarding employment-based immigration (Green Card) and the employee's responsibilities concerning the acquisition of employment-based immigration; to make sure that the institution is in compliance with Federal regulations regarding sponsorship of non-resident alien employees for permanent residency; to emphasize that employment-based immigration applications are contingent upon full-time tenured or tenure-track, long-term employment.
This policy exclusively covers permanent residency and applies to individuals appointed to full-time tenured or tenure-track teaching positions such as, Full Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors. Sponsorship of permanent residency is not available to part-time non-tenure-track faculty or adjunct professors. SCSU sponsors non-resident alien employees under the following categories of employment-based immigration: 1) First Preference EB-1-B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers (henceforth "EB-1"); and 2) Second Preference EB-2-A: Advanced Degree (henceforth "EB-2"). All EB-1 and EB-2 petitions must be filed using the CSU System-retained immigration attorney. SCSU's Office of International Education will provide the appropriate immigration attorney contact information for any prospective or current non-citizen faculty member who wishes to learn more about the process of pursuing employment-based permanent residency through SCSU.
4. Institutional Responsibilities
EB-1 sponsorship requests must be made after a tenured or tenure-track employee on H-1B status has been employed for three consecutive years at the University or per the recommendation of the CSU system-retained immigration attorney. A letter of recommendation for permanent residency sponsorship from the appropriate Department Chair and Dean are required and are the first step toward initiating the employment-based permanent residency process. Employees applying for EB-1 employment-based immigration will be referred to the System-retained immigration attorney to request immigration services. Legal fees associated with services provided by attorneys retained by the State, as well as USCIS filing fees, are the sole responsibility of the employee, not SCSU, unless otherwise determined by the University1. In addition, the University is not responsible for filing dependents' permanent residency applications. It is the sole responsibility of the employee to file for his/her dependents.
1The University may elect to provide partial funding toward attorney fees for faculty members recommended by the System attorney for EB-1 employment-based permanent residency who were born in countries impacted by the USCIS petition processing backlog, based off of the Visa Bulletin published on the U.S. Department of State website.
The decision to support EB-2 sponsorship must be made by the hiring department immediately after the faculty member receives his or her first annual renewal letter, since the EB-2 petitioning process must be initiated within an eighteen-month hiring window (before eighteen months has passed since the date on the initial offer letter). A letter of recommendation for permanent residency sponsorship from the appropriate Department Chair and Dean are required and are the first step toward initiating the employment-based permanent residency process. Employees approved for EB-2 employment-based immigration will be referred to the attorney retained by the State of Connecticut to provide immigration services. All Department of Labor certification fees will be paid by SCSU. All other fees – including attorney fees, USCIS filing fees, and premium processing fees (if desired) must be paid by the beneficiary. In addition, the University is not responsible for filing dependents' permanent residency applications. It is solely the responsibility of the employee to file for his/her dependents.
EB-1 and EB-2
The Office of Human Resources is responsible for ensuring that all employees on the SCSU payroll satisfactorily certify the Form I-9 prior to commencing employment and maintain the currency of the Form I-9 throughout the duration of an individual's employment with the University.
**It is the responsibility of the employee to inform Human Resources and the Office of International Education of any changes in non-resident employee job duties.
The Office of International Education is:
4.1 The only resource for questions regarding permanent residency sponsorship;
4.2 Responsible for educating H-1B employees of the University about University policies regarding the "H-1B time clock" and employment-based options for establishing permanent residency;
4.3 Responsible for referring employees in H-1B status who wish to apply for permanent residency to legal counsel retained by the State of Connecticut, whether the purpose be to apply for employment-based permanent residency or to seek counsel on a complex immigration issue. OIE staff may decline to advise on immigration matters they feel require the legal expertise of an immigration attorney.
The Department Chair and Dean's Office:
4.8 The request for permanent residency sponsorship must come from the Department Chair, along with a narrative justifying the request and a road map-projection for the faculty's long-term employment. For EB-1 and EB-2 sponsorship, written approval from the appropriate Dean is also required;
4.9 A copy of the faculty's curriculum vitae must be attached to the letter of justification;
4.10 In the event that a faculty member is denied sponsorship by the Department Chair or Dean, the employee must immediately be referred to the OIE;
5. Individual Responsibilities
Non-resident alien employees of Southern Connecticut State University are responsible for the following:
5.1 Maintaining proper immigration status at all times;
5.2 Maintaining work authorization at all times while adjustment of status is pending;
5.3 Ensuring that all re-entry paperwork is in order prior to departing the United States for personal or professional reasons;
5.4 All costs associated with EB-1 employment-based immigration sponsorship.
5.5 All costs aside from the Labor Certification (Department of Labor) for EB-2 employment-based immigration sponsorship;
5.6 Gathering and submitting all of the documentation required to meet the sponsorship guidelines;
5.7 Only seeking employment-based immigration using legal counsel from the immigration attorney on retainer with the State of Connecticut;
5.8 Filing all USCIS forms, which may include but not be limited to: applications for parole, applications for replacement of corrected I-94 cards, applications for employment authorization in conjunction with pending permanent residency (Green Card) applications, and applications for Premium Processing when expedited service is desired;
5.9 Filing any and all forms related to any and all dependents s/he may have in the United States or who may be joining him/her in the U.S.;
5.9a, Filing Note: Southern Connecticut State University does not provide any assistance with the filing of a permanent residency application for dependents. Non-resident alien employees should seek legal counsel regarding the change of status for their dependents;
5.10 Notifying the OIE if there are any substantial changes to the employee's immigration status, job duties, title, hours, and departmental designation;
6. Fiduciary Responsibilities
Southern Connecticut State University does not charge non-resident alien employees institutional service fees that pertain to the filing of employment-based immigration petitions, and the University will financially support the Labor Certification (Department of Labor fee) for faculty members approved by Chair and Dean for EB-2 employment-based permanent residency. However, all attorney fees, all USCIS filing fees, all premium processing fees (if desired), and all attorney and filing fees related to filing of permanent residency applications for dependents are the responsibility of the beneficiary (employee).
In the provision of immigration services, it is the role of the OIE to sign and submit EB-1 and EB-2 petitions made in the name of Southern Connecticut State University. The OIE cannot advise on immigration matters beyond those required by the University and identified in the left column above. All non-resident alien employees of Southern Connecticut State University are, therefore, advised to seek the counsel of an immigration attorney retained by the State of Connecticut.
For more information on SCSU’s EB-1 and EB-2 processes, please contact the OIE Director, Dr. Erin Heidkamp, at firstname.lastname@example.org.