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The Administrative Policies

TAP NO. 49: Immigration Policy

Request and Approval Guidelines for H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa and Permanent Residence (Green Card) Status - Effective 3/1/11

OVERVIEW:

Duquesne University (the “University”), in its sole discretion, may assist newly-hired and existing faculty and administrative/professional employees in acquiring, transferring, or maintaining an employment-authorized visa to establish a lawful presence in the United States and to secure eligibility to work at Duquesne University.  All assistance provided will be in complete compliance with the standards, practices, and policies as set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and all related government agencies.

The University has the right and responsibility to determine the most appropriate visa category for the faculty or administrator, based upon the nature of the employment, the individual's visa history, his or her academic and professional credentials, special circumstances related to family or the country of origin, and the University’s interest in establishing a long-term employment relationship with the foreign national.

Typically, an H-1B temporary nonimmigrant visa application is considered before a petition for permanent residence (green card).  As a general rule, permanent residence applications are only considered after completing at least two (2) years of successful teaching/work in H-1B visa status.

REQUEST AND APPROVAL OF H-1B:

The following will apply when initially acquiring, transferring, or extending H-1B nonimmigrant visa status:

Since the H-1B is an employer-sponsored visa, the beneficiary of such a visa may not complete a petition on his/her own.  Typically, a request is made during an employment search from a sponsoring faculty member, Department Chair or Department or Program Director who discovers the prospective employee's (the beneficiary's) need for the visa as part of a condition of employment in the U.S.  For academic positions, the approval from the Dean is required for all applications for H-1B visas.  The Dean shall consult with and secure the approvals of the Provost and Vice President of Legal Affairs before any action is taken on behalf of the applicant requesting the visa (the beneficiary).

For non-academic positions, the approval of the Senior Department Head is required for all applications for H-1B visas.  The Senior Department Head shall consult with and secure the approval of the Divisional Vice President before any action is taken on behalf of the applicant requesting the visa (the beneficiary).  If approved by the Divisional Vice President, the Vice President of Legal Affairs will be consulted.

A written request from the originating department should be developed and include the following information:

•    Nature of request and reason for hiring a foreign national rather than a U.S. citizen

•    Beneficiary's name

•    Type of request (initial H-1B application, transfer, or extension)

•    Hiring department

•    Title of position

•    Confirmation of employment status (full-time or, in very limited circumstances, part-time)

•    Proposed annual salary (not including fringes)

•    Anticipated dates of employment

•    Highest academic degree awarded and field of study

•    Job description (A list of illustrative job duties and requirements for work.)

If approved by the Divisional Vice President, the Vice President for Legal Affairs will provide written approval and authorize the Office of Human Resource Management to begin the application process via University-selected outside immigration counsel.

REQUEST AND APPROVAL OF PERMANENT RESIDENCE:

At its discretion, the University may sponsor certain employees (faculty and administrative staff) for permanent residence status.  Sponsorship for permanent residence status is based upon the employee completing at least two (2) years (and, in certain cases, additional years) of continuous employment with the University and achievement of a satisfactory level of job performance.  Only employees in permanent positions, i.e., at least 35 hours per week or, for faculty members, tenured, tenure-track or a faculty position of indefinite duration for which there is an expectation of continued employment, will be considered for permanent residence status.  Approval from the Divisional Vice President and the Vice President of Legal Affairs is required to begin the permanent residence process.

Based upon eligibility and approval, the process to apply for permanent residence status is initiated through the Office of Human Resource Management.  The University and the employee will work with an immigration attorney selected by the University to represent both the University and the employee throughout the process.  The use of personal attorneys for this process is not permitted.

COSTS:

The cost for obtaining an H-1B nonimmigrant visa is paid in full by the University when approved in advance by the Vice President for Legal Affairs and the Divisional Vice President or President.  Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the University will not be responsible for: (1) obtaining employment-authorized nonimmigrant visas for additional family members; or (2) any unusual situations including premium processing fees which require the University to pay fees or legal expenses beyond the normal range.

The typical cost for obtaining permanent residence status includes advertising expenses (if applicable), attorney's fees, and USCIS petition and application fees.  Subject to the provisions below, the University will pay all of the costs associated with securing permanent residence status on behalf of the employee and his/her spouse and minor (under the age of 21) children.

MISCELLANEOUS:

1. The Office of Human Resource Management should be consulted for all employment-related immigration matters relating to prospective and current employees.

2. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the President or Divisional Vice President.

3. All Duquesne University policies and guidelines regarding recruitment must be followed.

4. The University must receive approval of the H-1B petition from the USCIS before employment can begin.

5. For H-1B visa holders, any substantial change relative to the foreign national's working conditions, location of work, job duties, and/or salary decrease may trigger the need to file an amended petition to the USCIS and, therefore, any such change should be communicated to the Office of Human Resource Management.

6 . An H-1B petition filed with the USCIS represents a firm commitment by the employing department to fully fund the beneficiary for the entire period of time requested (which is typically an initial period of three (3) years and, if appropriate, can be extended for an additional three (3) years).

7. USCIS will hold the University liable for the H-1B worker's return transportation costs if the worker is dismissed from employment (except if the termination is for cause) before the end of the period of authorized stay.

8. The University does not and cannot guarantee any specific government processing time for any application for either H-1B or permanent residence applications.  Any and all requests for such applications should be made with as much lead time as possible.

9. Premium processing options for H-1B may be considered when the mutual interests of the University and beneficiary can be best served.

10. The University's sponsorship of an employee for a nonimmigrant visa or permanent residence status does not constitute a guarantee of employment, contract for employment (for any term) or obligate the University in any way.

11. This policy supersedes any and all previously prepared policies, whether communicated verbally or in writing, relating to the subjects discussed herein.  The University also reserves the right to modify this policy at any time based upon, but not limited to, changes in applicable law.

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