1. Policy on Outside Attorneys
Authorization to sign off on official immigration documents related to UConn appointment and employment, including the PERM Form 9089, the USCIS Form I-140 and the USCIS Form I-129, rests exclusively with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) as designated by the Provost. Individual faculty and/or department representatives are not permitted to engage outside attorneys for any University action, nor pay attorneys for services on behalf of the University. Individual faculty and/or department representatives are not authorized to sign nonimmigrant or immigrant petitions, documents or forms based on UConn employment on behalf of the University. Failure to comply with these provisions will result in notification to USCIS and/or DOL that the petition or application was unauthorized and should be withdrawn or revoked.
In addition, the State of Connecticut has selected two law firms to represent the State’s higher education institutions for immigration issues requiring outside immigration legal counsel. OGC will consult with these law firms in cases where a second opinion is warranted and refer work to them as appropriate. Hiring departments must consult with OGC first before seeking any outside immigration attorney’s legal services. Communication with the two immigration law firms representing the State of Connecticut must be initiated through OGC.
2. Signatory Authority
Only specifically designated OGC staff may sign immigration petition-related documents on behalf of the University. Such paperwork signed by another UConn individual will not be honored as the University’s petition/application.
3. Payment of Fees
Federal Processing Fees: Federal law requires UConn (i.e., the hiring department) to pay all fees that the immigration and labor regulations recognize as the employer’s responsibility.
The fees (amounts of which are subject to change) for which UConn and/or the hiring department are responsible include:
- H-1B Form I-129 application fee: $460 (hiring department)
- H-1B Anti-fraud fee: $500 (hiring department)
- Any expenses considered to be “business expenses” to prepare and file an H-1B petition (i.e., OGC administrative fee, premium processing fee for cases where the hiring department requires the beneficiary to start as early as possible, etc.)
- I-140 Immigrant Petition fee: $700 (hiring department)
- Any expenses considered to be “business expenses” to prepare and file PERM labor certification applications (i.e., advertisement and recruitment expenses, etc.)
OGC Administrative Fees: OGC will set administrative fees annually for processing immigration employment paperwork. These fees will be posted on the OGC website. Administrative fees include overnight express certified mailing expenses, including any response to the government if a Request for Evidence (RFE) is issued, photocopies of paperwork, Immigration Tracker software maintenance, supply costs to maintain public inspection files, etc.
4. Sponsorship of Employees for H-1B Visas
Federal immigration regulations stipulate that UConn may sponsor H-1B visas for individuals in academic and professional positions that meet all federally required H-1B conditions and qualifications. These federal requirements include:
- The salary offered to the beneficiary must be at or higher than the prevailing wage rate determined via a method compliant with the labor regulations.
If the hiring department cannot afford the prevailing wage, the University may seek an alternative employment visa category (i.e., J-1, O, TN or E3).
Sponsorship of an H-1B petition does not automatically result in sponsorship of a Permanent Residency petition.
5. Extensions of H-1B Visas
As short term extensions of H-1B visas create liabilities for and impose restrictions and hardships on the beneficiary while the petition is pending (such as restrictions on travel outside the U.S.), the recommended minimum extension period for an H-1B visa is 12 months.
All requests for H-1B extensions must be accompanied by an administrative fee, to be paid by the requesting department to OGC.
If a department elects to request an H-1B sponsorship period of less than 12 months and then finds that it must request an additional extension, the administrative fee payable to OGC will double for the extension request. (See #3 above)
6. Schedule for Requesting H-1B Visas and Extensions
Requests for H-1B visas and extensions must be submitted to OGC at least four (4) months prior to the employment start date or the extension start date. If the hiring department submits an H-1B request to OGC less than four months prior to an intended employment start date (including extension start date), an additional administrative fee may be imposed to cover the costs of rush processing.
7. Sponsorship of Permanent Residency Petitions
Federal law authorizes UConn to sponsor permanent residency petitions for individuals in full time positions, subject to those petitions’ meeting federal guidelines. The University will sponsor such petitions for permanent, tenure-track faculty positions only.
8. Outstanding Researcher/Professor Classification
EB-1 requests must be submitted to the Provost for review and approval before OGC will process such petitions.
9. Exceptions to Standard Policies and Procedures
The Provost must approve in writing a department’s request for an exception to standard policies and procedures for employment-related visa and PERM petitions before OGC will process such cases.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
OGC – Office of the General Counsel at the University of Connecticut
DOL – United States Department of Labor
EAD – Employment Authorization Document
I-140 – Immigrant petition for alien worker
I-485 – Application to register permanent residence or to adjust status
LPR – Lawful Permanent Residency or Lawful Permanent Resident
ODE – Office of Diversity and Equity at the University of Connecticut
PERM – Application for Permanent Employment Certification, “Program Electronic Review Management”
RFE – Request for Evidence
UConn – University of Connecticut
USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services