212 - Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals for H-1B “Specialty Occupation” Visas
Subject: Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals for H-1B "Specialty Occupation" Visas
Date: April, 2015
To provide guidelines for University sponsorship of full-time, benefits-eligible staff who are foreign nationals for H-1B "specialty occupation" visas.
H-1B status should be sought when it is in the best interest of the University, and the foreign national, as determined by the University in its sole discretion. A unit, department or division (referred to in this Policy collectively as "unit") must initiate the H-1B sponsorship of the foreign national. The University rarely sponsors part-time employees in H-1B status, and only does so in limited circumstances.
1. Only a University unit, not an employee, may initiate the sponsorship process. The unit's Human Resources Partner evaluates and submits requests for sponsorship for H-1B status to the Office of International Affairs, or in limited circumstances to outside legal counsel (if approved in advance by the Office of Legal Counsel).
2. Requests for H-1B sponsorship of an employee must be in writing and meet the following minimum requirements:
• Written approval for sponsorship from the responsible Dean, unit Vice President, the Provost or cognizant officer must accompany the request;
• The position is full-time and requires at least thirty-seven and one-half (37.5) hours per week, except in rare cases;
• The position requires a bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent in a specialized field of study, and the employee or trainee has the same;
• The position requires specialized and complex knowledge that the employee or trainee will apply in the position;
• There is sufficient justification that the proposed foreign national is uniquely qualified through education, training and/or experience for the position;
• The position offers the H-1B employee the same benefits package as a U.S. citizen would be offered in the same position; and
• The H-1B employee is paid the "prevailing wage" or higher as determined by the Office of International Affairs based on the best available wage sources.
3. In those instances where the University sponsors an employee for H-1B status, there is no guarantee that H-1B status can be obtained. The process depends upon approval by multiple government agencies, employee eligibility, and factors outside of the University's control. Accordingly, no University employee may make any promise that the University will obtain an H-1B status or any other status for the current or prospective employee.
4. Outside legal counsel may represent the University and the sponsored employee in immigration matters if the Office of Legal Counsel provides prior written authorization.
5. Costs associated with this process will be borne by the employer as required by regulation.
6. University sponsorship of H-1B visas does not impact the sponsored employee's at-will or other employment status at the University.
Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.