Most international students are eligible for one year of practical training after graduation from their program of study. This means that applicants for faculty positions who have just completed their PhD programs will likely have one year of employment authorization available to them.
A J-1 Visa may be the most appropriate type of visa for an international employee hired to teach in a temporary teaching position. The hiring department must contact International Student and Scholar Services as soon as possible after the position has been offered in order to ascertain what visa type is appropriate. ISSS will issue the paperwork to the prospective employee.
If the J-1 visa is deemed most appropriate, the hiring department must complete a Background Form for J-1 Scholars and return it to International Student and Scholar Services, MSC 5731. Please note that visa application procedure sometimes takes four or more months, depending upon whether the Embassy has a backlog of visa application appointments and whether an extensive background check will be required, so you are urged to complete this paperwork as soon as possible.
In general, a J-1 Professor may be employed only by the sponsoring institution. However, if the sponsoring institution gives prior permission, the Scholar may participate in occasional lectures or short-term consultations at a different institution. This additional employment must be incidental to the main purpose of the stay and must not cause a necessity for an extension of the DS-2019.
Federal law provides for a certain number of temporary visas to be approved each year for employment in "specialty occupations." The requirements for the position are that:
Provided the position satisfies these qualifications, the prospective faculty or staff must:
Employment authorization with an H-1B is contingent upon which employer sponsored the H-1B. In other words, an H-1B visa holder may work ONLY at JMU if JMU is the sponsoring employer on the underlying H-1B petition submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
The H-1B can be granted for an initial period of three years, followed by an extension of three years. In the meantime, the employee may choose to begin the process of applying for permanent residence (a green card) provided s/he is in a qualified position.
If a Department is interested in hiring international faculty or professional staff on an H-1B visa, the Background Form for H-1B's must be completed and returned to International Student and Scholar Services, MSC 5731, as soon as possible.
It is JMU’s policy to file PERM cases with the Department of Labor for all eligible tenure-track Faculty. PERM is the application for Labor Certification Determination, with which an employer can request a green card for its permanent, full-time professional employees. Because of nuances within the law, it is more difficult and time consuming to obtain a Labor Certification for non-teaching positions, and the ISSS is unable to devote the resources to filing PERM’s for anything other than tenure-track teaching positions. If the non-teaching employee wishes to hire his/her own attorney in an attempt to secure a green card, ISSS will cooperate fully, to the extent allowable by law.
To this end, please notify ISSS as soon as you have made an offer to an international person for a tenure-track faculty position. The search chair will be asked to complete a report on the selection process and a copy of the advertisement will be needed. It is possible, should the PERM case be audited, that additional information will be requested, but for most positions this is all that is needed for the PERM.
Once the Labor Certification has been issued, JMU and the employee will file a joint petition to request a green card for the employee based on that position. At that time several fees are required by the Department of Homeland Security and the hiring school is asked to share the costs of that fee. Please contact ISSS for additional information should you have questions about this policy.