Policy on Permanent Residence Sponsorship
Permanent residence status applications for eligible foreign national employees in academic positions are initiated by a specific school or college of 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, the dean of the sponsoring department, and the Provost. In addition, Provost and/or the ISSS Director at Florida Tech are the sole authorized officials to sign any documentation required for filing applications for permanent residence. The director 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 two types of permanent residence that Florida Tech will consider are:
- Outstanding Professor/Researcher (EB-1)
- Approval of an outstanding professor/researcher petition can be obtained if Florida Tech can demonstrate that a sponsored employee has an exceptional record of scholarly achievement in his or her field. More than three years of teaching and/or postdoctoral research experience, a very strong record of publications, superlative evaluations by recognized experts in the field, the receipt of prizes, awards, and/or other forms of professional recognition are usually required to obtain approval of an outstanding professor/researcher petition.
- This type of case is handled through one of Florida Tech’s recommended immigration attorneys.
- Labor Certification for Faculty Teaching Positions (EB-2: PERM Labor Certification)
- Florida Tech can apply to the Department of Labor for labor certification under optional special recruitment and documentation rules, which replace the previous special handling rules, for a sponsored employee appointed to a teaching faculty position (e.g. assistant/ associate/full professor).
- Under special recruitment rules, Florida Tech is not required to demonstrate that there were no qualified U.S. workers available for the position, but only that the appointee was the best qualified applicant. Florida Tech can usually meet this requirement by presenting to the Department of Labor the details of the Florida Tech departmental recruitment process that led to the faculty appointment.
- This process usually takes between 1 and 3 years.
- For individuals born in China or India, this process may take several more years.
- This type of case is handled by one of Florida Tech's recommended immigration attorneys
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.
It is vital to remember no one other than the Provost and/or
the ISSS Office Director is allowed to sign any immigration documentation
pertaining to a permanent residency application
Phase I: The First Meeting
The sponsoring department head and/or Dean must meet with the foreign national to peruse the information and documentation that is required to get approval of the university for permanent residency.
Phase II: Foreign National/Employee Requirement - Commitment Letter
If a college or school agrees to fund legal fees, the foreign national will be required to sign a statement of a minimum of a three-year commitment of employment to the university. If a foreign national decides to leave the university before the three-year employment commitment has been satisfied, he/she must reimburse the college or school for the amount incurred on a prorated basis
Phase III: Cost Sheet with Payment Responsibilities - Costs & Fees
It is within the discretion of the college or school within the university to provide funding toward attorney and filing fees associated with the permanent residence process.
The U.S. Department of Labor requires that universities pay all legal fees and advertising costs related to the labor certification process, a requirement of the second preference classification (EB-2). Should therefore, a University Department undertake sponsorship of an individual in this classification, they must indicate in writing, prior to final approval,, that they are willing to cover the legal fees and advertising costs associated with labor certification, approximately $2500 per case.
The costs for the first preference classification (EB-1), can be paid by the employee, the department, or a combination of both.
With the exception of labor certification fees, if any college or school chooses not to provide funding, but agrees to sponsor the employee’s permanent residence process, it is the responsibility of the employee to pay all fees associated with the permanent residence process.
Total legal fees for a permanent resident application can total $9000 - $10,000 or more, depending on the complexity of issues involved, and additional fees for dependents.
Phase IV: The Academic Department
The sponsoring department head must submit the commitment letter and cost sheet, along with 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.
Phase V: The Dean of the College or School
The dean will respond in writing to the sponsoring department’s request. The dean will send a copy of his/her response, along with the department head’s recommendation letter, the commitment letter, and the cost sheet to the ISSS Office.
Phase VI: Office of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)
ISSS will review all documents and forward a formal recommendation to the Provost for an official signature. Once the provost has signed the recommendation, the documents will be returned to ISSS. The requesting department, Human Resources, Budget, and the attorney’s office will be notified so that the application process for permanent residency can begin.
It is vital to remember no one other than the Provost and/or the ISSS Office Director is allowed to sign any immigration documentation pertaining to a permanent residency application
Phase VII: Processing Time
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 be changed 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.