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A Workshop on International Scholar Employment at MU

A Workshop on International Scholar Employment at MU

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A Workshop on International Scholar Employment at MU

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  1. A Workshop on International Scholar Employment at MU Presenters: Richard Porter, ISSS Coordinator Billie Freelon, H-1B Advisor. William B. Schiller, Davidson & Schiller, LLC

  2. Employing J-1 Scholars

  3. J-1 Documentation and Reporting Requirements • Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) • DS 2019 (Formerly IAP 66). • $100 SEVIS fee • Rules regarding reporting to the school after entry into the US. • Rules regarding departure. • Reporting address changes

  4. SEVIS • TheStudent and Exchange Visitor Information System is a web-based information system operated by USICE (ICE), The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Formerly the INS but now an agency under the Department of Homeland Security), to process visa documents, report changes, request benefits, add dependents, transfers, and many other visa related issues The INS was divided up into three agencies under the Department of Homeland Security; USCIS, USICE, and USCBP

  5. J-1 Form DS-2019 (SEVIS) Dependents of J-1 scholars (J-2s) must possess there own separate SEVIS document.

  6. SEVIS Fee • All new J-1 scholars applying for a J-1 visa or requesting a change of status to J-1 must pay. • Fee supports SEVIS. • $100 fee paid online at: • Scholar is required to pay. • Sponsoring institution can pay the fee for the scholar but is not required to.

  7. New Arrival Reporting Requirements • Scholar must enter the US and check in at ISSS within 30 days after SEVIS start date. • When arrival into the US is delayed for 20 days beyond the SEVIS start date (allowing a 10 day buffer for ISSS check in), the ISSS will need to amend the program start date in SEVIS. Department and or scholar must notify ISSS, if scholar will arrive 20 days after start date.

  8. MU Arrival and Program Validation • Scholar must check in at the ISSS after arriving in the US within 30 days after their program start date. • After scholars check in, an ISSS advisor will validate the scholar’s program participation in SEVIS. • Scholars who enter the US but do not have their program participation validated by ISSS within 30 days from their SEVIS start date will be considered illegally present in the US Scholars must check into ISSS immediately after arriving in Columbia!

  9. Departure Reporting Requirements • 30 day departure if scholar’s program ends as planned (end date on DS2019) • 15 day departure if scholar ceases employment 30 days before program end date. Department must notify ISSS only when scholar terminates program 30 days before end date.

  10. Scholars must notify the USCIS Regarding Address Changes J-1 program participants are legally required to inform the USCIS of a change of address within 10 days Scholars will notify USCIS indirectly regarding changes of address by filling out the Scholars Address Change Form at the International Center. ISSS will note the change in SEVIS.

  11. The Visa stamp in a scholars passport is like a KEY... it is for entry only. It is OK for a scholars visa to expire while in the U.S. This will only effect the scholars ability to travel outside the US and re-enter, not their legal status. Only a Key Your Visa (an entry document)

  12. J-1 Program Restrictions • Engage in Defined Activities • Authorized Employment only • Health Insurance Requirements • Two Year Home Residency Requirement

  13. Scholars and professors are here to teach and or perform research and can not enroll in courses unless they are incidental. Engage in Defined Activities Changing a J-1 category from scholar to student or student to scholar is not possible once the J-1 enters the US. This can only be done by departing the US and re-entering with a new document.

  14. Be Employed only with Authorization J-1 Scholars can be paid for occasional lectures or consultations off campus but only with written authorization from an ISSS advisor. No authorization is needed if the scholar will only be reimbursed for reasonable expenses.

  15. Carry Health Insurance! J-1 Visitors and their dependents are required by law to carry Health Insurance that meets minimum requirements. Included in these minimum requirements is Repatriation/Medical Evacuation coverage (7,500/10,000). Scholar will be asked to show documentary proof of insurance (in English)! MU benefits eligible employees will need to purchase an add-on policy to cover Repatriation/Medical Evacuation.

  16. “SUBJECT/NOT SUBJECT TO SECTION 212(E)” Also noted on the DS 2019 (formerly IAP-66), but not always. Two Year Home Residency Requirement (212.E) • Those who are subject to this requirement must return to their home country and reside there (not in a third country) for two years after the completion of their J program before returning to the US on a work visa. • Changes of immigrant status within the US are not possible unless this requirement is waived.

  17. J-1 Dependents (J-2) • May be employed after receiving authorization from USCIS. • Is subject to the Two Year Home Residency Requirement (212.E) along with the J-1. • Can not remain in the US after the J-1 completes their program. • Can study full-time or part-time. • Must carry adequate health insurance equivalent to the standards set for the J-1 (expensive)

  18. Request form is sent as an emailed attachments to the department (the request form is also available on our web site and as a hard copy at the front desk of the International center). Processing can take up to 10 days. J-1 Process at MU • Department contacts the ISSS. Anadvisor will determine if J-1 isthe best option. • Scholar must report to ISSS as soon as they arrive at MU, show proof of insurance, and attend a mandatory orientation.

  19. Help for Hosting Departments Scholars who are not employees of MU can still get staff/faculty ID cards enabling them to procure library privileges, keys to their office/laboratory, etc…. Information regarding these procedures and other helps for hosting departments can now be found on our web site at: Other useful information on the ISSS Web Site:

  20. Advantages to J-1 • Quick processing (ISSS issues the J-1 document within 10 days) • J-2 dependent can work • Less paperwork • Less problems related to the wage • Research scholar programs can now be extended for up to 5 years

  21. Disadvantages • Generally more difficult to get a visa at the US consulate or embassy • 2 year home residency requirement for nationals from some countries.

  22. Employing H-1B Workers

  23. Employment Visa Professional Position Position must require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Employee must have a bachelor's degree or higher H-1B Foundational Information

  24. H-1B Parameters • Limited to 6 aggregate years • Job-site specific • Processing time * Must allow for 3 to 5 months for normal processing.* Allow for 1 month for expedited processing • Minimum of 1 year – Max. 3 year for each petition.

  25. Employer Responsibilities • File a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor(ISSS with info. provided by the dept.) • Document wages paid (Dept) • Maintain Public Access File (ISSS) • Pay return trip home for early termination (Dept)

  26. DOL USCIS (INS) Responsible Government Agencies • Determines prevailing wage • Certifies Labor Condition Application (LCA) • Regulates Work conditions • Requires Job Postings • Audits Public access file • Adjudicates H-1B petitions (I-129) • Regulates and monitors non-immigrant’s status • Requires employer to pay return trip home

  27. Advantages for Academia • Standard training fee of $1,000 is waived for Academic Institutions (Separate Petition fee of $200 and an anti-fraud fee of $500 is still required) • Academic Institutions are not subject to a yearly cap on the number of H-1B employees • It is possible to request expedited or “Premium Processing” (for a fee).

  28. Wage determination. Prevailing wage and Actual Wage 1-3 weeks Labor Condition Application (LCA)Certification Department of Labor Instantaneous H-1B PetitionUnited States Citizenship and Immigration Services 3-5 months The H-1B Petitioning Process An Overview

  29. Special Topics • Prevailing wage and changes associated with it. • Expedited “premium processing” • H-1B transfers • The J-1 2 year home residency requirement. • Extensions • Visa applications and the new DOS/USCIS security procedures and policies

  30. Prevailing Wage • The actual wage must meet 100% of the Prevailing wage (PW) or exceed it. • PW is determined by the State Employment Security Agency (SESA) • PW requests are presented to the SESA based on information provided to the H-1B advisor by the dept regarding the position. • The state recognizes four levels of salary in the PW determination.

  31. Standard Processing PremiumProcessing Processing Times

  32. H-1B Transfers (Portability) • Those in valid H-1B status at another institution can begin employment at MU only after MU receives a notice from the USCIS that a petition was filed. • This whole transfer process can take around 1 to 2 months. • Transfer applications are not automatically approved so there are risks involved in the process.

  33. The J-1 Two Year Home Residency Requirement • Many individuals in J-1 status are required to return to their home country for two years after completing their program. • Unless they fulfill this obligation or receive a waiver of the requirement, they can not change their status to H-1B. • The waiver can take up to one year to obtain

  34. Extensions • Petitions for extensions should be made no less than four months before the current program ends. • Can continue without an approval • Late petitions result in significant problems with travel. No visa will be issued for re-entry with an expired program and no approval notice for the extension.

  35. New Security Measures • Longer visa processing times for beneficiaries applying outside of the US. • Increased security at the USCIS service centers . • Difficulties in applying for visas in third countries. • Increased scrutiny for individuals working in sensitive areas. Contact the H-1B advisor before undertaking or recommending travel outside the US. Knowledge regarding proper procedures and documentation is crucial

  36. New PolicyH1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 • A new $500 fraud prevention and detection fee for all new H1B petitions and for all H1B transfers to MU. • Departments, not the scholar, will be required to pay the fee. • The $500 fee will not be imposed on H1B extension petitions for those currently in H1B status, employed at MU. • Employers are now required to pay 100% of the prevailing wage.

  37. H-1B Process at MU • Departments contact the H-1B advisor. The advisor will determine if an H-1B is the best option. • Petition materials are sent as emailed attachments to the department and the beneficiary. • The materials and process have been revised so please contact H-1B advisor before filling out and submitting any old documents you may have. *Go to the IC web site for more detailed information

  38. Advantages to H-1 • Generally easier to get the visa at the US consulate or embassy. • Can transition to become a permanent resident. • Longer period of stay (6 years)

  39. Disadvantages • Wage requirements (prevailing wage) • All financial support must come from MU • Paperwork • Length of processing time • The expense related to expedited processing of petitions. • Dependents of H1B’s (H4’s) are not allowed to work. • No official “grace period” for H1B holders after their period of authorized stay ends or after their employment terminates.

  40. New Travel Restrictions • Renewals of H-1 visas (entry stamps in the passport) within the US are no longer possible. The only place a visa stamp can be issued now is at a US consulate or embassy abroad.

  41. Q & A Visit our web site for more information at:

  42. Permanent Residence (PR) “A foreign national or alien immigrant in the United states is commonly referred to by different terms, including: immigrant, permanent resident, lawful permanent resident, green card holder and numerous other labels”. Ref. I.N.A. 101(s)(20); 8C.F.R. 1.1(p)

  43. Different Routes to obtaining Permanent Residence status? • Family • Employment • Public or Humanitarian Policy • Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery (DV)

  44. International Student and Scholar Service Office PR Processing • Department recommends the scholar to ISSS for processing and commits to pay a $1,000 fee for services. • Permanent Residence Advisory Committee assesses the viability of the scholar case in consultation with ISSS • PRAC approves or denies the recommendation • If approved, ISSS assists scholar and department with the process

  45. Employment BasedPR Petitions through ISSS • First Preference (EB1): Priority Workers- (1) persons of extraordinary ability (2)Outstanding Professors or Researchers (3) Certain Multinational executives/managers. • Second Preference (EB2): Professionals holding advance degrees and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, and business. • Etc....

  46. First Preference (EB1) Outstanding Professors or Researchers “Internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific field and have a minimum of three years research or teaching experience” Musthave an offer of tenured, tenure- track teaching or “permanent” research position. Post Doctoral or visiting positions do not qualify

  47. Qualifying Documentation (EB-1) • Major national or international prizes • Membership in exclusive professional associations • Published material about the alien’s work • Evidence of participation as a judge of the work of others • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions • Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles

  48. How Much is Enough? • USCIS regulations specify that evidence must be submitted in at least two of the prescribed areas. • The broader, more diverse, and more convincing the evidence is, the more likely the petition will be approved.

  49. The PR process for EB1 File the I-140, Immigrant petition. This can take anywhere from one month one year to be adjudicated. (No LC) Concurrent filing of I-485, application to adjust status to permanent resident. This currently takes approximately one to two years. Concurrent filings are advisable in only some cases.

  50. Delays in the Filing of Adjustment of Status Applications for Certain Nationalities • The permanent residence visas numbers available for each country are limited. • Numbers available to citizens from China and India have run out, resulting in long delays. (this does not impact the employers ability to file the immigrant petition) • The list of retrogressed countries may increase.