Policies & Contracts

211 - Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals for Permanent Residency

Subject: Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals for Permanent Residency

Section: U211

Date:  October, 2016 


To provide guidelines for sponsoring full-time benefits-eligible staff employees who are foreign nationals for permanent residency and to ensure compliance with applicable law governing immigration and the employment of foreign nationals.


The University only sponsors full-time, benefits-eligible staff employees for permanent residency under limited and unique circumstances.  A department or unit may pursue sponsorship when doing so is in the best interest of the University. 


  1. Only a University department or unit, not an employee, may initiate the sponsorship process.  The Human Resources Partner (HRP) for the department or unit evaluates and submits requests for sponsorship for permanent residency to HR-Talent Acquisition.
  2. Requests for sponsorship of a staff employee must be in writing and meet the following minimum requirements:
    • The position requires at least thirty-seven and one-half (37.5) hours per week;
    • The position requires a bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent and specialized and complex knowledge;
    • The uniqueness of the position has made it difficult to recruit qualified applicants; and
    • There is sufficient justification that the proposed foreign national is uniquely qualified through experience, skill, and background for the position.
  3. In addition, the foreign national must be an employee of the University for a minimum of four consecutive years (i.e., completed four consecutive years). HR-Talent Acquisition may waive this requirement if the request is endorsed in writing by the responsible Dean, unit Vice President, or their designee.
  4. In those instances where the University decides to sponsor a staff employee for permanent residency, there is no guarantee that permanent residency can be obtained. The process depends upon approval by multiple government agencies, employee eligibility, and factors outside of the University’s control.
  5. Thus, no one is authorized to promise a current or prospective employee that the University will obtain permanent residency on the individual’s behalf.
  6. Privately retained attorneys may represent the University in immigration matters if they are first authorized in writing by the Office of Legal Counsel.
  7. Costs associated with this process typically will be borne by the employee except costs the employer is required to pay by law.
  8. University sponsorship does not have any relationship with the sponsored employee’s status as an at-will employee.


Term Definition
HR Partner Department/division personnel who serves as the representative for the department in all human resource issues and processes staff transactions in campus HR systems (i.e. Workday and UChicago Jobs) on behalf of their department/division.
University HR The central human resources body for the university made up of Centers for Expertise (COE).
HR-Talent Acquisition The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff talent acquisition policy and processes.
Hiring Unit Campus unit to which a new or vacant position reports.
Hiring Manager The individual requesting the new or vacant position be filled. Generally, the position being filled will report to the hiring manager.
Office of Legal Counsel The University office responsible for advising University officials on legal and regulatory questions associated with the University's activities.
Benefits Eligible Position A regular staff position that is scheduled to work an average of 20 hours or more per week.
Non-Benefits Eligible Position Positions that are expected to continue for at least twelve consecutive months at 19.5 hours of less per week and is therefore eligible for benefits.
Foreign Nationals Individuals who are in nonimmigrant status defined by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
Permanent Residency Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Permanent Residents are authorized to live and work in the U.S. permanently.
At Will Employment Employment that is a matter of continuing agreement between the employee and the university. Either the employee or the University may decide to end the employee's employment for any reason not prohibited by law, at any time. Applies to employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.


Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.