This policy outlines the conditions under which a foreign national employee may obtain university sponsorship for U.S. Permanent Residency during employment at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). University sponsorship involves a process that includes approval from each of several levels of university administration.
VCU departments hiring or intending to hire foreign nationals.
VCU Office of International Education officially interprets this policy and shall revise or eliminate any or all parts as necessary to meet the changing needs of Virginia Commonwealth University. Please direct policy questions to the Office of International Education-Immigration Services.
Form used to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an immigrant visa based on employment.
Form used by a person who is in the United States to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjust to permanent resident status or register for permanent residence.
A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain an approved labor certification request from the DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Federal laws and regulations require a multi-step process for the foreign national to become an immigrant based on employment. The U.S. employer must complete a labor certification request through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. In addition, forms must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s division of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): a petition for an alien worker to become a permanent resident in the United States (I-140) and, for a person living in the U.S., an application to adjust to permanent resident status or register for permanent residence (I-485).
University sponsorship for U.S. Permanent Residency during employment at VCU requires all the following conditions must be met:
The VCU hiring department completes the form “Approval Form for Employment-Based Immigrant Petitions” and obtains approvals from the department head and the dean of the school/college. The form is then submitted to the Director of Immigration Services in the Office of International Education, 916 W. Franklin St., who obtains the Provost’s or applicable Vice President’s approval and then notifies VCU General Counsel and Challa Law Offices (Attorney General’s authorized immigration counsel) to begin their procedures.
All fees paid by VCU on behalf of the beneficiary, regardless of fund source, for other than the labor certification request, require execution of the “Reimbursement Agreement for Permanent Residency Petition Fees”.
The department is allowed to pay expenses for the foreign national employee only, i.e. a department may not pay expenses associated with a permanent residency application for the employee’s dependent(s). The employee will pay the immigration attorney directly for any dependent costs.
The following conditions apply to legal fees in permanent residency cases paid from state funds:
The employer is required by federal law to pay the legal fees plus any position advertising costs for the Labor Certification request.
Immigrant Visa Based on Employment (I-140) and Adjust to Permanent Resident Status or Register for Permanent Residence (I-485):
The VCU hiring department may agree to pay for additional legal and filing fees related to the permanent residency petition. Note: Total legal fees paid by state funds (including legal fees from Labor Certification) may not exceed $5,000.
Individuals who started but did not complete Permanent Residency proceedings at another institution or employer and who have subsequently been hired by VCU may receive University sponsorship but still use the prior firm. However, standard approval procedures must be followed, and reimbursement requirements must be adhered to with the other law firm.
The Director of Immigration Services in the Office of International Education is the university representative who facilitates the Permanent Residency paperwork with the state-contracted immigration law firm, Challa Law Offices. All university sponsored residency petitions must be processed through this University office and this law office.