The proper status to use when hiring international faculty and staff depends, in part, upon the type of position offered.
For individuals hired to fill part-time or full-time appointments for a limited fixed term (a temporary position), a non-immigrant status is appropriate. Temporary appointments for the purpose of visa options would include positions outside the tenure system, e.g., temporary faculty/staff, post-docs, visiting scholars, visiting researchers, and exchange visitors. The visa status that is typically used for temporary or term-limited positions is non-immigrant status, such as F-1 OPT, J-1, H-1B, O-1 or TN. Temporary or term-limited appointments should not carry with them the expectation for BGSU sponsorship for legal permanent residency and hires in these positions should be informed of policy at the start of the employment period.
Hiring departments/schools/units should contact Faculty & Staff Immigration Services to discuss visa/status options appropriate for internationals offered employment based on their individual circumstances and the position offered.
Immigrant status, the intention to pursue permanent residency in the U.S., is most appropriate for faculty appointed to a tenured or tenure-track position. It’s also appropriate for staff appointed to a continuing appointment even though staff contracts are annual. Until permanent residency can be obtained, a process that routinely takes up to two or more years, a foreign national employee can work in a non-immigrant status. An approved H-1B petition certifies work eligibility in three year increments with extensions beyond six years allowed if adjudication for legal permanent residency takes longer than that.
The H-1B visa is unique in that it allows for dual intent for both the H-1B petitioner (BGSU) and beneficiary (the employee). This means an H-1B employee has the option of either returning to the home country at the end of H-1B validation period or remaining in the U.S. while pursuing legal permanent resident status. The H-1B also allows for an international employee to begin the permanent resident process without jeopardizing work authorization or restricting travel outside the U.S.
J-1 Exchange Visitor/Visiting Scholar status is not an appropriate status for employees in the tenure system or other continuing appointments.
For any tenure-track position that could result in the hire of an international, a national recruitment strategy must be carried out. Documentation to establish that the search was national in scope and competitive in nature must be collected for presentation to the Department of Labor. This would include either print or web ad posted for at least 30 days, showing title of publication and date, in a national outlet common to the discipline as well as print-offs of all websites or other electronic means used to reach applicants.
All letters offering positions to international candidates should include a phrase that “under the regulations of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, BGSU must verify your identity and employment eligibility within three (3) days of the start of work.”
Upon arrival at BGSU, newly appointed non-immigrant faculty and staff are to report to the contracting office to complete the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. An authorized BGSU staff member, representing the employer, is required to verify an international’s work authorization and identity, and to attest on the I-9 form, under penalty of perjury, that the information provided is true. Faculty & Staff Immigration Services will assist departments/schools and hiring units in completing the form and examining the foreign national’s documentation necessary to comply with this law.
International hires should be prepared to present their passport, Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94), visa, EAD, or any other immigration documents necessary to complete the employment verification process.