Guidelines and Help on Hiring Non-U.S. Citizens
Dennis Jett, Dean
The Office of International Faculty and Scholar Services in the International Center (UFIC) provides assistance at no cost to UF academic departments on all employer-related immigration matters for faculty, A&P, and USPS positions.
UFIC has the responsibility for filing all immigration petitions and applications requiring sponsorship by UF. The signature of UFIC staff is required on all these immigration documents. This holds true even though the employee may have hired his or her own attorney. UFIC will work with the legal counsel, if one is retained by an individual employee, to achieve appropriate work authorization or immigration objectives. Whether counsel is hired or not, UFIC’s involvement is required to assure that UF’s policies and procedures have been met and documentation of the process is being maintained, as required by law.
UFIC will work jointly with the hiring department, and the international employee, on obtaining the following types of visas or changes of status:
A nonimmigrant status for temporary, professional employment that carries an intent to become a legal permanent resident.
A temporary status for Canadian and Mexican professionals in certain fields listed in the NAFTA.
A temporary status for faculty who have risen to the top of their field of endeavor.
A status for exchange visitors who visit the university as research scholars, professors, or short-term scholars.
Employment-based legal permanent resident status.
In connection with these matters, department are reminded to consult with UFIC when offers of faculty positions to persons who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents are contemplated. There is specific language that should be a part of the letters of offer of tenure-accruing positions to non-resident aliens, and for letters concerning the sponsorship for permanent residence by the university of tenure-track faculty.
Guidelines and forms used in the preparation of the applications and petitions for the statuses listed above are provided at UFIC’s website at www.ufic.ufl.edu. The staff of UFIC is available for one-on-one consultation on all these procedures. We encourage departments to call upon UFIC for help with these often complex details. Because updates and time-sensitive notices are communicated to the departments on the our Listserv, we encourage departmental staff involved with personnel or immigration-related issues to become subscribers. Information about how to subscribe is found at the website.
Recently, Congress passed legislation favorable to institutions of higher education that will be helpful in hiring candidates from a worldwide applicant pool. Effective last fall, institutions of higher education are no longer subject to an annual quota with regard to H-1B status. Employees already in H-1B status can now move from one employer to another more easily. H-1B status now can be extended beyond six years under certain circumstances for those whose permanent residence process has been prolonged unduly by INS.
But with these advantages, there have come some difficulties. Over the past several months, Florida’s SESA (Workforce Program Support Office in Tallahassee), the U. S. Department of Labor, and the INS have experienced increased workloads creating much longer times for processing prevailing wages, certification of Labor Condition Applications, and H-1B petitions. Until these delays are reduced, the H-1B process will take about six months from the time the hiring department requests the prevailing wage until UF has received the approval from the INS.
For more specific information about immigration issues related to international faculty, scholars, or other professional staff, please contact Barbara Wilkie at 392-5323, ext. 651 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org