Application for permanent residency or H1B status requires employer sponsorship which infers an intention on the part of the employer and the employee to maintain a working relationship. Sponsorship does not guarantee or obligate either party to ensure permanent employment or tenure status with the university.
Sponsorship is not an entitlement. Decisions are based solely on institutional need for the unique skills and expertise the foreign national employee possesses. The final decision to sponsor the foreign national must be based on the “best interest of the university.” (MSU Policy 3.348)
Types of positions meeting the criteria for university sponsorship:
- Open-ended funding – Funding for the position being offered must be open-ended with an expectation to last indefinitely. Positions with temporary funding or those positions funded by grants with definite short-term expiration dates of less than four remaining years will not be considered eligible for sponsorship.
- Faculty Positions – Full-time faculty positions with teaching and/or research responsibilities that meet the critical needs of the department and are expected to be long-term may be eligible for sponsorship. Part-time faculty positions and those with the titles of adjunct or teaching assistant are not eligible for sponsorship.
- Staff Positions – Full-time staff positions may be considered eligible for sponsorship only in extraordinary circumstances when the search for non-immigrant applicants with the specialized qualifications of the position has been exhausted. A documented search for available non-immigrant workers must be conducted in cooperation with the Human Resources Department through job postings, newspaper and print advertisements, and announcements in trade publications and websites to demonstrate that the position is “difficult to fill,” meaning that no qualified and able US worker is available and willing to fill the position.
Qualifications of the foreign national applicant for sponsorship:
- Performance Evaluation(s) – Faculty members must have received evaluations of “meets expectations” in all categories. Staff members’ performance evaluations must have overall ratings of “exceeds expectations” or “outstanding.”
- Length of Service - (Permanent Residency Status)– When possible, the foreign national must have been employed with the university for at least twelve (12) months and there must be an expectation that the individual will remain employed with the university for a period of three or more years after acquiring permanent residence status.
- Credentials – The credentials of the foreign national must be documented and must meet or exceed the requirements of the position. Credentials to be considered may include the individual’s resume or curriculum vitae, diplomas, transcripts, publications, awards, and other achievements. The university must be able to establish and maintain records that support the judgment that the foreign national employee is better qualified than US applicants for the position.
The application process:
- The department, not the employee, initiates the application process for employee sponsorship.
- For permanent residence status, it is recommended that the process be started at least two years before the employee’s eligibility for H-1B status expires, which is in the fourth year of his/her H-1B status. For H1B status, it is recommended that the process be started at least 9 months prior to the expiration of the current work authorization.
- The chair or director of the department employing the foreign national employee will submit a formal written request for sponsorship (through the respective college dean, if appropriate), to the provost or respective vice president.
- The provost or respective vice president will determine if the type of position and the qualifications of the individual meet the guidelines and criteria for sponsorship set by the university.
- If the request is approved, the provost or respective vice president will sign the request and forward it to the President.
- The President will determine if it is in the best interest of the university to sponsor the individual for permanent residence status.
- The Office of the General Counsel and the Human Resources Department will receive a copy of the approved request and determine if the employee meets the federal guidelines for sponsorship.
- If the request is not approved by all parties or the employee is determined ineligible, the request will be returned to the department chair or department director who will notify the foreign national employee.
- If the request is approved, the employee, respective chair or director, dean, provost or vice president, Human Resources Department, and Office of the General Counsel will be notified by receiving an approved copy of the request signed by the President.
- The General Counsel and Human Resources Director will advise those involved regarding procedures, regulations, and deadlines as well as serve as the liaison with the university approved attorney.
- Only the provost or respective vice president and president are designated as the signatory for the labor certification application form.
Additional Guidelines / Checklist
H1B Sponsorship Request
- Department chairs or department directors should be careful not to make promises of sponsorship for permanent residence status to the employee on behalf of the university.
- Legal fees incurred during the labor certification application process for permanent residency status are the responsibility of the university and may not be passed on to the employee.
- A private attorney may not be engaged to represent the university unless first approved by the university president and the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
- A foreign national may retain individual counsel to obtain legal advice on his/her own behalf provided the attorney is not hired to represent the university in the application process for permanent residency.
- As proof that an extensive search for the most qualified candidate was conducted, the hiring department must keep copies of the print advertisement(s) placed in national journals or publications when the position was originally filled. Copies of advertisements should also be provided to the provost or relevant vice president and the Human Resources Department.
- The foreign national employee will be required to present current immigration documents to the Human Resources Department when the permanent residency application process begins.
- The official MSU employee “immigration file,” documenting current employment eligibility to work in the United States, will be maintained in the Human Resources Department. Foreign national employees who have a change in immigration status and those foreign employees, who leave the United States and return, must provide the Human Resources Department with their most current immigration or visa documents, including the I-94 displaying the stamp for re-entry.