4.15.4 Hiring of Foreign Nationals

A. Purpose

This purpose of this policy is to provide The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) procedures that are consistent with federal law for hiring foreign nationals.

B. Persons Affected

This policy applies to all employees who may be involved in the recruitment, hiring or processing of the appointments of faculty and staff who are foreign nationals. The procedures for filling positions that require student status as a condition of employment and those individuals under exchange visitor programs are established by the Office of International Programs, the office authorized to grant employment authorization through designated school officials.

C. Definitions

Non-immigrant Visa – A visa issued to a person with a permanent residence outside the United States (U.S.) but who wishes to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis. Examples of non-immigrant visa types typically petitioned for by UT Tyler for the employment of foreign nationals are H-1B, TN, J-1, O-1, and E-3. A visa issued to a person with a permanent residence outside the United States (U.S.)

H-1B visa – The US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa, a US employer can hire a foreign worker for up to six years.

TN visa – The non-immigrant North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) TN visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work temporarily in the United States in certain occupations.

O-1 visa – The O-1 temporary worker visa status is designated for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts or athletics and individuals of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries.

E-3 visa – The E-3 is an attractive alternative to H-1B status for an Australian national who is coming to the U.S. with a spouse who hopes to work in the U.S.

Permanent Immigrant Visa – The visa issued to a person to reside permanently in the U.S.

D. Policy

  1. In accordance with provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and applicable federal regulations, UT Tyler will only hire and continue to employ individuals who are authorized to work in the United States.
  2. University visa sponsorship for employees is reserved for employees in positions that directly support the teaching and research mission of UT Tyler. Job titles eligible for both non-immigrant status and immigrant/permanent resident status are shown in the following table: 

    Job Eligibility for nonimmigrant status and Immigrant/Permanent Resident Status* 

      Job Title Eligible for H1B Eligible for Permanent Residency 
    Academic Titles  Professor   x   x 
       Associate Professor  x  x
       Assistant Professor  x  x
       Clinical Professor  x  x
       Associate Clinical Professor  x  x
       Assistant Clinical Professor  x  x
       Senior Lecturer  x  
       Lecturer  x  
       Instructor  x  
    Research Titles  Research Scientist   x   x 
       Senior Research Scientist  x   x 
       Research Engineer  x   x
       Senior Research Engineer  x  x
       Research Associate  x   x 
       Postdoctoral Fellow  x   
       Senior Research Fellows  x   
       Research Fellow  x   
       Project Director   x   x 
    Librarian Titles  Professional Librarian   x   x 
    Classified Titles  Research Engineering/Scientist Associate III-V  x  x
       Social Science/Humanities Research Associate III-V  x  x 
    *Any requests for exceptions for individuals who do not hold these titles must be made in writing to the hiring official’s chair, dean, and the Provost.
  3. Permanent resident petitions (“green card”). Only full-time employment of indefinite duration meets the legal criteria for lawful permanent residence. Part-time employment and employment with a fixed duration does not qualify for permanent residence. In most cases, UT Tyler will pursue permanent residence for a foreign national after the first semester (in the case of faculty) or at the end of their probationary period (in the case of classified employees). 

  4. UT Tyler will only support petitions that are in the institution’s best interest and that it or its duly authorized agents have prepared. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for the filing of temporary worker petitions (H-1B), (TN), (0-1), (E-3) and for signing labor certifications and immigrant/permanent resident petitions. An attorney is only authorized to represent UT Tyler if approved by The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel in accordance with procedures established by the Texas Attorney General. Privately retained attorneys do not have the authority to represent UT Tyler; therefore, a hiring official must not sign a G-28 (Notice of Appearance) allowing a private attorney to represent UT Tyler. Further, to the extent that a beneficiary of a UT Tyler petition hires his or her own attorney to represent personal legal interests that individual is solely responsible for the payment of the legal fees under that agreement.
  5. Hiring officials must not authorize individuals who are awaiting employment authorization or whose work authorization has expired to work or serve as volunteers.

E. Procedures

  1. Consultation with the Office of Human Resources.  Hiring officials should consult the Office of Human Resources with any questions related to the immigration status of prospective and current foreign employees.
  2. Employment Petition. The departmental hiring official or representative should notify the immigration representative in the Office of Human Resources early in the hiring process if a foreign national will need work permission, as the application process can take several weeks because of its complexity and federal regulatory requirements.

    Unless there is a legal requirement for a particular position, citizenship status shall not be used as a basis for discriminating against a foreign national. Federal law governs the employment of a foreign national. A member may not request documentation that a person is eligible to work in the United States until a contingent offer of employment has been made. Each offer of employment should state that employment is contingent on the applicant’s ability to provide employment eligibility documentation required by federal immigration laws. 

    The head of the hiring department proposing to employ a foreign national shall ensure that the proposed employment complies with all U.S. export control laws and regulations as indicated in UT System Policy 173, Export Controls.

  3. Filing Fees. Filing fees and legal fees that UT Tyler is required to pay will be paid by the sponsoring department. Fees for dependents will not be paid by UT Tyler; the individual will be responsible for paying those fees. For an estimate of fees, please contact the immigration representative in the Office of Human Resources.

  4. Documentation Supporting Petition.  Applications for H-1B temporary worker status require submission of a Labor Condition Application to the U.S. Department of Labor and an I-129 petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The departmental hiring official or representative must provide the immigration representative in the Office of Human Resources the information required to complete these forms. For H-1B petitions, the hiring unit must pay the prevailing wage for the position as determined by the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC). 

  5. Visa Applications.  Once an employment petition is approved, the beneficiary is responsible for filing the visa application. Appointment arrangements for U.S. embassies and consulates, additional security clearances based on citizenship and gender, and extra scrutiny of individuals who work in areas on the expanded Technology Alert List (a list of sensitive fields of research compiled by the federal government that require clearance), may cause unpredictably long delays in securing the proper visa to enter the United States. The individual visa holder is responsible to ensure that he or she obtains status in a timely manner and maintains status for continued employment at UT Tyler.

  6. Hiring officials must promptly notify the immigration representative in the Office of Human Resources of any change in employment including the termination of a foreign national. Once an employment petition is approved, the beneficiary is responsible for filing the visa application. Appointment arrangements for U.S. embassies and consulates, additional security clearances based on citizenship and gender, and extra scrutiny of individuals who work in areas on the expanded Technology Alert List (a list of sensitive fields of research compiled by the federal government that require clearance), may cause unpredictably long delays in securing the proper visa to enter the United States. The individual visa holder is responsible to ensure that he or she obtains status in a timely manner and maintains status for continued employment at UT Tyler. 

  7. Employment of Foreign Nationals Outside of the United States.  Prior to hiring a foreign national as an employee to work outside United States, the hiring department must contact the designated office within the member for assistance in determining whether such a hiring could raise potential foreign tax, immigration, labor, export control or other legal issues. The designated office will direct the hiring department to the appropriate office for assistance with issues arising out of the proposed hiring of foreign nationals to work outside the United States as employees. If the designated office needs assistance in determining requirements and compliance issues, the Legal Office should be contacted.

F. Review

This policy shall be reviewed by the Director of Human Resources every five years or as legislation/rules change.

AMENDED:  02/2019

AMENDED:  07/2020