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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 4 - Personnel General
Publication Date: August 17, 2004
Responsible Executive: VP for Business Affairs

4.24 Hiring of Foreign Nationals

  1. Purpose

    Foreign nationals make a great contribution to the teaching and research mission of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). It is important, therefore, that units in which these individuals are employed are aware of new university procedures for processing permanent resident and temporary worker visa petitions, changes which stem from recent developments in federal policy and from the state of the national and Texas economies. Provided below is a general overview of approved procedures for filing these petitions. Please ensure that individuals in each of your areas with responsibility for hiring employees and/or processing appointments are provided with this information.

  2. Policy

    In order to comply with the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, UTSA may not employ individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States. Moreover, petitions for temporary employment and permanent residency must serve to support the teaching and research mission of UTSA and must fully comply with the regulations of the Department of Labor and the various new immigration bureaus that are part of the Department of Homeland Security.

  3. Procedures

    To ensure compliance with applicable federal regulations, UTSA has delegated authority for filing temporary worker petitions (H-1B status), and for signing labor certifications and immigrant/permanent resident petitions to designated individuals at the UTSA Office of International Programs (OIP). UTSA and The University of Texas System policy precludes an attorney from filing these petitions and representing our institution on behalf of an employee.

    1. Employment Petition

      Early notification of the staff in the International Programs Office is very important in order to plan for the timely arrival of your new hires. Processing backlogs in the U.S. for the temporary worker visas have recently increased. Immigration Premium Processing service does allow for expedited processing of H-1B and O-1 petitions. This service costs an additional $1,000, but results in adjudication by Immigration within 15 days. Even with Premium Processing, the application process could take 5-7 weeks because of the complexity of the process and the Department of Labor requirements that must be met.

    2. Documentation Supporting Petition

      Applications for H-1B temporary worker status require submission of a Labor Conditions Application to the Department of Labor and an I-129 form (Specialty Worker Petition) as part of the required documentation. The departmental representative is responsible for completing required information and providing it to the Office of International Programs. For H-1B petitions, the hiring unit must be paying, or be prepared to pay, the prevailing wage for the position, as determined by the Texas Workforce Commission.

    3. Visa Applications

      Once the employment petition has been approved, the visa application may also present challenges. Appointment arrangements for U.S. embassies and consulates, additional security clearances based on citizenship and gender, plus extra scrutiny of those coming to work in areas listed on the expanded Technology Alert List (a list of sensitive fields of research compiled by the federal government that require clearance before visa issuance), may cause unpredictably long delays in securing the proper visa to enter the U.S. Department head approval is required for all invitations to foreign nationals who will be employed at UTSA.

  4. Permanent Residency Advising

    Immigrant/permanent resident petitions for foreign nationals to work at UTSA generally are limited to specific faculty positions and may be petitioned for under the categories of Outstanding Professor/Researcher or through Special Handling Labor Certification (standard labor certification applications are not included). Job title eligibility for both H-1B and immigrant/permanent resident status is shown in the table below.

    1. Exception to Policy

      When it is determined to be in the best interest of UTSA, extensions may be filed for employees already employed at UTSA and hired in H-1B status prior to the date of this policy memorandum even if their titles are not on the list.

    2. Non-qualifying Positions

      Because of the complexity of the immigration and labor laws, consideration in submitting immigrant petitions for positions that do not qualify under the categories listed below will be determined on a case by case basis by special request through the applicant's dean and appropriate vice president (in coordination with the Provost). UTSA will not pay the legal fees of applicants who have retained outside attorneys.

    3. Consultations

      Professorial, research and support staff should feel free to consult with International Programs advisors about any questions related to the immigration status of prospective and current foreign employees. It is especially critical that staff consult OIP advisors regarding tenure track positions, since some individuals may have been in a status that requires them to return to their home country for two years (or to receive a waiver of the requirement) before petitioning for H-1B or immigrant/permanent resident status. The immigration advising chart, Non-Immigrant Visa Categories Most Commonly Used at The University of Texas at San Antonio, may prove a helpful reference for any discussions with the OIP staff. This chart is available in the OIP.

      To avoid problems that could arise when an individual employment eligibility is not known, you will need to discuss the issue of work authorization with the prospective employee early in the process. To ensure the protection of a job applicant's rights, prior to recruitment and interviews, consult with the Office of Human Resources for appropriate guidance.

The University of Texas at San Antonio Job Eligibility for H-1B and Immigrant/Permanent Resident Status

  Job Title Eligible for H-1B Eligible for Permanent Residency
Academic Titles: Professor X X
Associate Professor X X
Assistant Professor X X
Instructor X X
Senior Lecturer X X
Lecturer I, II, III X  
Research Titles: Research Scientist X  
Research Associate X  
Research Coordinator X  
Postdoctoral Fellow X