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Sponsorship of Employees For United States Permanent Residence

From Appalachian State University Policy Manual

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Policy 602.33

1 Introduction

1.1 Appalachian State University (“University”) attracts a number of outstanding scholars from around the world to study, conduct research, and teach at the University. Some of these individuals are students, but a large number of scholars serve with distinction as members of the faculty and professional staff sponsored by the University.

1.2 Some foreign nationals begin their employment at the University in temporary, non-immigrant work status such as J-1, H-1B, TN or F-1 (OPT – work authorized). In addition to holding temporary, non-immigrant status, most are also in temporary positions. The University may offer permanent residence, “Green Card,” sponsorship only to full-time, permanent employees in academic job classifications (tenure track faculty members) at the University. The qualifying positions include professor, associate professor, assistant professor and research associate (a department must have secured funding for at least three years in the future for the University to sponsor a research associate). The University does not sponsor non-teaching professional staff or visiting lecturers for permanent residence. Obtaining permanent residence for a University employee requires a substantial commitment of University resources. Therefore, the University will not begin the process until after a faculty member has been employed for one full semester. 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).

1.3 This policy outlines procedures for the employment-based sponsorship of employees for U.S. permanent residence as approved by the Chancellor. It is intended for use by University departments with employees in temporary, non-immigrant employment-based classifications whom the department wishes to retain on a permanent basis. It should be consulted and incorporated into any negotiations regarding University sponsorship for permanent residence which may take place at the time of initial hire or thereafter.

2 Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all EHRA non-faculty research associates and tenure track faculty members hired at the University that have completed one full semester of employment. (EHRA non-faculty and tenure-track faculty members)

3 Definitions

3.1 Definition phrase or word

Definition summary

3.1 Individuals immigrate to the United States in a variety of ways: through close family members who are United States citizens or permanent residents; under the sponsorship of employers who offer them permanent jobs, by establishing that they are individuals with extraordinary abilities which will benefit the national interest of the United States; through employment creation and investment; as refugees or asylees; under special diversity programs; etc. What follows is a definition of non-immigrant versus immigrant status; the use of these immigration categories for employment at the University; and information regarding the University’s policies and procedures for the sponsorship of an employee for U.S. permanent residence.

3.2 Non-Immigrant Categories: The following are a few of the many non-immigrant categories, which can be used to authorize temporary employment in the U.S. of foreign nationals through the sponsorship of an employer or authorized organization/entity. The categories listed are those which are most commonly used at the University.

3.2 F-1

Used for international students on assistantships, or practical training programs (after completion of studies at the University or other US institutions). Practical training for individuals in F-1 status is limited to twelve and up to twenty-nine months depending on the student’s field of study. In order to continue employment, the individual will need to provide proof of continued authorization, which typically is the result of a change to a different nonimmigrant classification based on the sponsorship of the University.

3.3 J-1

Used for Exchange Visitors (may be students, visiting professors, researchers or short-term scholars). J-1 undergraduate students or students in master’s degree programs may participate in “academic training” (analogous to F-1 practical training) for up to 18 months following completion of their degree requirements at the University or other US institutions. J-1 students who have completed a doctoral program are eligible for up to 36 months of academic training following completion of their degree requirements. Visiting professors or researchers (both non-student categories) in J-1 status may be employed in temporary (non-tenure track) positions for a maximum of five years. Short-term scholars may be employed in temporary positions for a maximum of 6 months. A J-1 Exchange visitor may not hold a tenure-track position.

3.4 H-1B

Used to employ foreign nationals who qualify as individuals engaged in "specialty occupations," as defined by immigration law (i.e., university professors and other teachers, engineers, advanced business specialties, lawyers, architects, physicians). An individual may be employed for up to six years in H-1B status, approved in flexible increments not to exceed three years each.

3.5 TN (Trade NAFTA)

This classification is restricted to citizens of Canada and Mexico, and is limited to specific professions as defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). There is no specific limitation on the number of years an individual may be afforded TN status; however, TN status may be denied on the basis of immigrant intent on the part of the sponsored individual as he or she is expected to retain the intent to return to his or her home country.

3.6 Immigrant Status

The terms “immigrant status,” “green card,” and “lawful permanent residence” are often used interchangeably. The process of applying for lawful permanent residence is lengthy and complicated. The process may be delayed through no fault of the University and approval is never guaranteed. Once a permanent resident is issued a Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a "Green Card," or Form I-551), this card is evidence of his/her eligibility to reside permanently in the United States and to work without restriction.

4 Policy and Procedure Statements

4.1 Example policy 1

4.2 Example policy 2

5 Additional References

6 Authority

7 Contact Information

8 Original Effective Date

9 Revision Dates