Employment of International Faculty and Staff

Complexities of immigration laws require early consultation with the Office of International Faculty and Staff Affairs in recruitment and employment of international faculty and staff.

The complexities of U.S. immigration laws and regulations pertaining to both immigrants and non-immigrants make it extremely important to consult early with the Office of International Faculty and Staff Affairs (IFSA), 308/31l International Studies Building ((217) 333-8225 or (217) 333-8226), regarding the recruitment of international faculty and staff. All non-citizen employees who are not U.S. permanent residents must clear their alien status with this office to assure that they are legally employable under U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) regulations.

A statement from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, dated January 15, 1976, says,

“Appointments of non-citizens may be made on the same basis, governed by the same criteria, as other appointments. However, such appointments for service in the United States, and the terms of such appointments, will be effective only so long as the non-citizens are lawfully present in this country and entitled to accept employment, as determined by the appropriate federal authority.”

Employment of Non-immigrants

The only non-immigrants who can be legally employed by the University within the restrictions of the particular visa status are:

  1. F-1 or J-1 students from the University of Illinois or students in practical training or post- doc status from the University of Illinois or another institution;
  2. J-1 exchange visitor research scholars or teaching faculty on the University of Illinois exchange visitor program or certain exchange visitors from other J-1 programs;
  3. J-2 “dependents” if employment has been authorized by the INS; and
  4. H-1B professionals sponsored by the University of Illinois.

If the prospective employee is on a nonimmigrant visa other than those listed above, he or she must obtain the proper visa status before receiving University pay. The nonimmigrant alien will normally need a document from the IFSA office in order to obtain the proper visa status. The IFSA office must be involved in the processing of any visa request for UIUC employees.

Pertinent Nonimmigrant Classes

  1. B-1 Tourist for Business and B-1 Tourist for PleasureThe easily obtainable B-1/B-2 status does not enable a nonimmigrant to be employed.B-2 status is strictly for tourist activities–no payment of any type may be given. Individuals who enter the U.S. in B-1 status can only be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred. A prospective employee should be warned not to enter the U.S. under any circumstances in B-1 or B-2 status, since a request to change to an employable status may be denied. Individuals from certain designated countries may enter as tourists without actual entry visa stamps and are, instead, given WB or WT status respectively. B-1/B-2 status is normally valid for 3 to 6 months, and extensions may be requested. WB/WT status, on the other hand, is limited to 90 days with no extension possible.

    J-1 status will be necessary for the short-term visitor who is to be paid an honorarium. The J-1 also provides tax advantages for citizens of many countries. B-1 or WB status can normally be obtained with an invitation letter.

  2. F-1 or J-1 Student StatusThe documents for student visas are issued by the International Admissions office at the time that the student is admitted to the University of Illinois. F-1 and most J-1 students may hold assistantship appointments up to 50 percent while studying full-time in pursuit of a degree. In addition, F-1 and most J-1 students may work on-campus, but total employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the academic year. Students with F-1 status who have completed a degree program at a U.S. institution are eligible to accept practical training employment for a maximum of 12 months. In some cases, F-1 students may take practical training before completion of studies. Most students in J-1 status are eligible for eighteen months of academic training. J-1 students who have completed a Ph.D. may be eligible for as much as 36 months of academic training for a post-doctoral research position.
  3. J-1 Professor/Research Scholar StatusAlthough not strictly an employment status, this is the status most generally used for employment of nonimmigrant faculty-staff when the employment enhances and is directly related to that individual’s own research program. J-1 status cannot be used for tenured or tenure-track positions. It is valid for up to three years, with an additional extension of six months possible in certain circumstances. The authorization document for this status (IAP-66) must be prepared and signed by a responsible or an alternate responsible officer of the University of Illinois Exchange Visitor Program. IAP-66 procurement forms can be obtained from the IFSA office.When a department wishes to bring a staff member to the University of Illinois in J-1 status, the department should complete the procurement form and send it to the IFSA office with a voucher for the processing fee–currently $50. IFSA should receive the procurement form at least two months prior to the intended arrival date of the alien. The IAP-66 will be prepared and returned to the department along with information regarding application for the visa. The department then mails the IAP-66 and letter of instruction to the prospective exchange visitor. As much time as possible should be allowed for visitors from the People’s Republic of China. The J-1 nonimmigrant status allows the holder to remain in the U.S. up to three years, as long as the initial objective continues to be pursued.

    If the alien does not have a U.S. social security number, a temporary number can be assigned by the IFSA office in order to submit the appointment papers upon his/her arrival. Application for a permanent number can be made by the alien at the Social Security Office in Champaign.

  4. J-2 StatusThis is the status of a dependent of a J-1 visa holder–limited to spouses and minor children. Family members may obtain their J-2 visas at the same time as the J-1. If they are coming to the U.S. after the J-1 arrives, the IFSA office will issue a duplicate IAP-66 for their use. After consulting with the IFSA office, a person holding J-2 status may apply to the Immigration Service in Lincoln, Nebraska for permission to accept employment. This work permission is nearly always approved and is virtually unrestricted.
  5. H-1 Professional StatusThis status is strictly for professional-level employment of a temporary nature. In contrast to J-1 status, H-1 status must be approved by the INS. Much more paperwork is involved, and the wage requirements of the Department of Labor must be met. It can be extended for a total of six years. When an H-1 holder’s employment ends, the status ends and he/she has a ten-day grace period. If the employment ends for any reason prior to the end of the originally requested visa status, the department is required to pay transportation costs for the individual’s return to his/her home country if he/she wishes to return.To sponsor an individual for H-1 status, an H-1 procurement form must be submitted to the IFSA office with a $100 processing fee. A petition is filed with INS supported by documentation of the alien’s credentials (letters, c.v., diploma, publications) and a labor condition attestation obtained from the Department of Labor by the IFSA office. An INS filing fee is required. In all petitions for H-1 status, the UIUC campus is designated as the petitioner, and they must be signed by an IFSA staff member. Two to three months are needed for processing.

Employment of Immigrants (Permanent Residents)

If the prospective employee already has valid “permanent resident” (green card) status of the U.S., there are no problems of entry, and normal employment procedures are followed. Employment is unrestricted except in a few instances where citizenship is required.

Permanent resident status is necessary for permanent employees, since six years is the limit for non-immigrant status. If the prospective permanent employee does not have this status, a delay of approximately one to two years can be expected in obtaining the status, if it can be obtained at all. When offered a position, an alien should not be promised that the University will be able to obtain permanent resident status for him/her.

See CAM policy Obtaining Permanent Residence for Foreign Staff Members for instructions on procedures for obtaining permanent residence status.