University and College Professors

The attorneys at Landau, Hess, Simon & Choi represent numerous colleges and universities with both temporary and permanent visa matters.

The U.S. Department of Labor has carved out a special PERM labor certification application process for university and college professors, known as “Special Handling.” With this process, the employer must attest that the sponsored foreign faculty member was selected for his or her full-time teaching position as the most qualified pursuant to a competitive recruitment and selection process. The requirements include that at least one ad was placed in a national professional journal, which, as of late 2011, can now include an electronic or web-based national professional journal. In addition, the offered faculty must involve some classroom teaching and the PERM labor certification application must be filed within 18 months of the faculty member’s selection as the most qualified candidate for the position.

Certain professors with international recognition may be exempt from the PERM process by qualifying under the EB1 category of “outstanding professor.” To qualify, the foreign national must be sponsored by the employer (a college or university) for permanent employment, which the USCIS considers to be a tenure-track or tenured position. Postdoctoral fellow and other fellow positions are not generally considered permanent by the USCIS but this is an ever-changing issue and we recommend seeking counsel with us if you are an employer seeking to sponsor a fellow for permanent residence.

To qualify as an “outstanding professor” under the EB1 immigrant visa category, the foreign national must be recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area by presenting evidence in at least two, (but preferably more) of the following areas:

  • original scientific or scholarly contributions to the field;
  • authorship of scholarly books or articles;
  • participation, individually or on a panel, judging the work of others;
  • published material about one’s work;
  • membership in an organization that requires outstanding achievement;
  • receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement; and/or
  • other comparable evidence.

In addition, the foreign national must have at least three years of teaching experience in the field (including work while pursuing graduate studies), and either be tenured or have a tenure track position.

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