Permanent residence status applications for eligible foreign national employees in academic positions are initiated by a specific school or college of The Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech). It is, therefore, a college or school’s decision and not the decision of an individual employee to proceed with sponsorship. The sponsorship of each foreign national employee must be approved by the department head (or director), the dean of the sponsoring department, and the Senior Vice President for Academics & Provost. In addition, the Senior Vice President for Academics & Provost of Florida Tech is the sole authorized official to sign any documentation required for filing applications for permanent residence. The staff of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will act as a clearinghouse to review all applications and documents prior to recommending them for an official signature.
Florida Tech sponsorship decisions are based solely upon an institution’s need for an outstanding candidate’s expertise and exceptional ability in teaching/research. Sponsorship refers to the lending of support to an application via a long-term, full-time job offer. The university may choose to sponsor or support an application by signing certain immigration documents verifying that it is offering an individual a permanent position. An offer of a permanent position refers to an offer of a long-term position (not temporary) but does not constitute a guarantee of lifetime employment. Permanent residence is contingent upon a full-time, long-term employment relationship, providing that an employee is (1) eligible for sponsorship and that (2) the U.S. Department of Labor and Citizenship and Immigration criteria can be satisfied. Florida Tech can only pursue permanent residence sponsorship for individuals whose particular immigration status, visa history, and situation would not preclude it.
The sponsoring department head must submit a formal request to the dean. This official letter should include the following: (1) a rationale for the request, (2) evidence of department funding for three years, (3) the credentials of the individual (4) statement describing the individual’s special abilities and expertise, and (5) expectation of a minimum three year commitment to the university by the applicant.
The dean will respond in writing to the sponsoring department’s request with a copy to ISSS.
ISSS will require the three letters mentioned in order to evaluate the case for institutional sponsorship of permanent residency. The letters are: (1) the Department Request Letter addressed to the dean, (2) the Dean’s Response Letter to the Department, and (3) the Individual’s Commitment Letter addressed to the Sponsoring Department. ISSS will review all documents and forward a formal recommendation to the Senior Vice President for Academics for an official signature.
Florida Tech has the prerogative to sponsor a full-time contract faculty member. Any externally funded non-teaching research positions of a permanent nature can also be considered if the individual has been working full-time at Florida Tech for a minimum of two years in a Research Professional rank or higher level. Florida Tech will consider sponsorship of these positions only at the end of the person’s second year at the university and only if there is guaranteed funding for at least three more years of employment.
US immigration laws do not permit the University to sponsor part time, temporary positions. The position must be “full time permanent employment.” The University does not therefore sponsor post-doctoral fellows and lecturers for permanent residence, since these positions are considered temporary and do not carry full University employee benefits. Similarly, Florida Tech will also not sponsor part-time, temporary, or visiting positions such as visiting professors, scientists, lecturers, researchers, post-doctoral fellows, adjunct instructors, lab technicians, or family dependents.
Immigrant visa applications are time consuming. It may take anywhere from six months to two years to complete the procedure due to processing backlogs at the various governmental agencies—the U.S. Department of Labor, if applicable, the CIS, and, in some cases, the American consulates abroad. During the processing time, the applicant must maintain a valid non-immigrant visa status if in the U.S. Although the university will make every effort to obtain approval for an application, there is no guarantee that the U.S. government will grant permission to a sponsored applicant to reside permanently in the U.S.
Any immigrant visa application that requires Florida Tech’s sponsorship must follow the policy outlined above. Not doing so, will result in the withdrawal of any cases filed without express permission.
This policy as outlined has been proposed based on current immigration law. U.S. immigration law is subject to change and amended by the U.S. Congress. Therefore, this policy is subject to revision by Florida Tech as new legislation is enacted or the university administration determines that changes are necessary.