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Resources and Reports

CWUP 2-30-115 Employment of Foreign Nationals

Central Washington University has a long tradition of employing faculty from around the world. The institution’s goal is to enable departments to recruit and retain qualified international scholars in support of the institution’s teaching, research, and public service mission by providing timely and accurate guidance, facilitating the immigration process, and monitoring immigration compliance within a complex and ever-changing regulatory environment.

Central Washington University is committed to open access and active participation in the global community of scholars and postsecondary education professionals. CWU is interested in attracting and retaining talented colleagues—regardless of national or cultural origins.

Federal law governs the employment of foreign nationals. It is unlawful to hire a foreign national who is not authorized to work in the United States. CWU’s success in obtaining approval of its petitions to employ foreign nationals is dependent upon its responsible adherence to laws, regulations, and procedures. It is essential, therefore, that all those with authority to recruit and hire university employees work closely with Human Resources to ensure they understand the procedures, time frames, and restrictions involved in the appointment of foreign nationals and plan accordingly.

Foreign nationals are not a protected class (including persons with temporary employment authorization or in work-authorized nonimmigrant visa status such as an E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, L-1, TN, O-1 or P or Q visa status) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 274B(c) [8 U.S. Code § 1324b(c)].

 CWU personnel policies and practices are consistent with United States laws and regulations governing the employment of foreign nationals, the issuance of certificates of eligibility, and the filing of petitions for both temporary and permanent employment. All appointments, at any level within the university, are contingent upon the individual obtaining the proper immigration status, and the term of employment may not exceed the duration of the employee's authorization and status.

 To be employed legally in the United States, a prospective employee must possess one of the following:

1. An employment-related nonimmigrant visa that allows an individual to work for a particular employer,

2. An Employment Authorization Document (work permit), or

3. A Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card).

Each of the documents listed above has different application requirements. The conditions to be met and the length of work in the United States will depend on whether a Green Card, work permit, or non-immigrant visa is sponsored. If any work conditions are violated, the employee could be removed from or denied reentry into the United States.

(1) Guidelines

(A) Employment of foreign nationals is based on the same considerations and review process as for all other candidates. Unless there is a legal requirement for a particular position, citizenship status will not be used to discriminate against a foreign national.

(2) Responsibilities

(A) Each hiring department is responsible for the employment of foreign nationals within their department.

(B) Human Resources acts as an agent and representative for the university and the employee in the filing of petitions through the Washington State Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Assistance includes, but is not limited to, communication between the employee and the AGO, review of supporting documentation submitted to the AGO, and internal records retention as required by the United States Customs & Immigration Service (USCIS).

(3) Practices

(A) University visa sponsorship is restricted to certain categories: full-time, tenured or tenure-track, permanent academic positions only. Grant funded positions are not eligible for sponsorship. Exceptions may be made for non-tenure track faculty and staff, only with the vice president’s written approval.

(B) Hiring Departments are expected to work with CWU Human Resources on any immigration related process. Approval from the respective Dean and the Provost or VP is required prior to beginning any immigration process. Departments will be required to provide documentation of bona fide recruitment, to include sufficient justification of experience, skills, background, training, education for hiring a foreign national in a particular position, as part of the visa petitioning process.

(C) CWU may ask applicants during the application and hiring process if they are legally authorized to work in the U.S. (visa status as opposed to national origin) and whether they will now or in the future require sponsorship for an immigration-related employment benefit.

(D) Privately-retained attorneys do not have authority to represent the university. The AGO is the university’s sole representative and processes all CWU-sponsored employment visas without exception. Individuals may retain their own legal counsel to advise them as a supplement to the process.

(E) Approval for nonimmigrant or permanent resident visa sponsorship does not ensure reappointment or promotion to a tenured position. All university regulations and policies governing personnel actions are applicable to foreign nationals. Applications referred to in these guidelines do not replace normal university personnel procedures, but are in addition to them.

(4) Visa Categories and Corresponding University Regulations

(A) CWU determines the appropriate visa category for the position and practical considerations. The majority of international faculty engage in a variety of teaching activities and hold a CWU appointment that initially requires a temporary, non-immigrant visa to enter the U.S.

(B) It can take well over a year to complete a visa petition, depending on the visa category. Once the permanent residency is approved, another time period is required for a green card opening to become available. Based on the home country, some waits can be a decade or more. This necessitates H1B extensions and the corresponding additional time and legal expense until permanent residency is received.

1. Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV)

a. H-1B: Is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate-level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. The employer must sponsor the petition for the employee. These visas are initially granted for up to three years, but may then be extended to a maximum of six years.

b. TN-NAFTA Professional: Permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary, nonimmigrant entry into the United States to engage in eligible professional activities as defined by USCIS. The initial period of stay is three years, renewable indefinitely. This visa is a good option for an initial entry into the US, but not appropriate for long-term, permanent positions (e.g., tenure-track faculty). The university will convert to H-1B as soon as possible.

1. Permanent Resident (PR) – “Green card”

a. EB-1 visas are an employer-sponsored, first-preference category requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher and demonstrated “extraordinary ability” in the profession by meeting or exceeding specific USCIS criteria.

b. EB-2 visas are employer-sponsored, second-preference category requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher and demonstrated “exceptional ability” in the profession by meeting or exceeding specific USCIS criteria. The employer is required to complete a Permanent (PERM) Labor Certification and to prove that there are no minimally qualified U.S. workers for the position.

[Responsibility: BFA; Authority: Cabinet/UPAC; Reviewed/Endorsed by: Cabinet/UPAC; Review/Effective Date: 02/11/2015; 06/13/2018; Approved by: James L. Gaudino, President]


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