Sponsorship Responsibilities

For their employees' petition for permanent residence, departments assume the role of a sponsor and all the responsibilities associated with the process including:

  • All advertisement and recruitment;
  • All costs associated with the preparation, filing and obtaining of the labor certification;
  • Record keeping.

In addition, departments are required to document that there is a reasonable expectation of continued employment for an indefinite period of time.

As a sponsor, departments must also keep all recruitment records for five years after the filing of the labor certification, including copies of all advertisements; summary recruitment report and copies of all applications received during the search.

Departments must pay all costs associated with the preparation, filing and obtaining of a labor certificate (approximately $1,800). 

Process for department sponsors

Within the employment-based sponsorship, there are two ways to becoming a permanent resident:

Outstanding Professor or Researcher

This category is an option for individuals who are:

  • Outstanding in their specific academic field;
  • Recognized internationally as outstanding in their specific academic field;
  • Have three years of experience in their specific academic field;
  • Have a job offer.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for the Outstanding Professor or Researcher, an individual must show evidence in at least two of the following:

  1. Documentation of the beneficiary's receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field.
  2. Documentation of the beneficiary's membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements.
  3. Published material in professional publications written by others about the beneficiary's work in the academic field. Such material shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation.
  4. Evidence of the beneficiary's participation as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field.
  5. Evidence of the beneficiary's original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field.
  6. Evidence of the beneficiary's authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the academic field.

Process flow

  1. Department submits request to IO;
  2. IO will have credentials evaluated;
  3. If eligibility is determined, IO will notify department and beneficiary of approval;
  4. IO will recommend attorney from the list of university approved attorneys;
  5. IO will coordinate with attorney in the preparation and filing of the petition.

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Note: Only university approved attorneys must be retained. Requests to hire counsel outside of the network will not be entertained. Attorney costs for such petitions can be paid by the employee or the department (subject to university limits) or a combination of the two.

Processing time

The processing times will depend on USCIS and the backlog for the year in which the petition was submitted. It is reasonable to expect at least 12 months at the very least.

Permanent Resident through Labor Certification (PERM)

Department of Labor regulations require that employers test the labor market so that U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not discriminated from the process. The main goal here is to see if there are qualified citizens and permanent residents, and to certify to the Dept. of Labor (DOL) of the labor conditions. While it appears counter-intuitive to advertise for a position that is not vacant, please keep in mind that the primary purpose is to test the market. If no qualified citizen or permanent resident is found, then the labor certification process can proceed.

Optional special handling for faculty

DOL regulations do make some exception to the testing of the labor market, especially for faculty hires.

This is best suited for tenure-eligible faculty where little or no experience is required, which is in contrast with the Outstanding Researcher category discussed above; it is ideal for any tenured faculty as well. This requires that the university file a labor certification within 18-months of the date of offer predicated on the following:

  • A competitive recruitment was conducted, including
  • One print advertisement in a professional journal
  • Additional posting on professional website or other on-line medium
Note: If a department or the beneficiary misses the 18-month window, or if a print advertisement was not used, then the standard labor certification regulations apply (see below).  

Standard Labor Certification

This category is used in the legal permanent resident process to sponsor staff, non-tenure eligible faculty and researchers who meet sponsorship eligibility as per university policy. The regulations are more prohibitive than the labor certification for tenure-eligible faculty in that, every applicant who is minimally qualified must be considered and employers must follow advertisement and recruitment guidelines as established by the Department of Labor.

Required steps

In order for a labor certification to be filed under PERM, the following steps must be taken:

  • Submit request form to the IO;
  • Meet 100% of the prevailing wage as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor;
  • Have non-research staff position descriptions approved by HR;
  • Pay all costs associated with the preparation, filing and obtaining a labor certification including attorney fees and advertisements (ranging from $3,000 - $5,000);
  • Consider all minimally qualified individuals as stated in the job advertisements and the U.S. Department of Labor posting;
  • Reject applicants per guidelines
  • Notify all laid-off employees from similar positions;
  • Complete resume review spreadsheet
  • Keep records for five years 

Advertisement requirements

Must advertise in the following:

  • Two Sunday Chicago Tribune or one Sunday Chicago Tribune and one professional journal, and
  • Three additional sites to include the following:
    • E-Recruit for staff positions;
    • University Career Services web site for positions that require 0-1 year of experience;
    • Website of a professional journal;
    • Chicago Reader; or
    • Career Builder.

Tip: By advertising in the Chicago Tribune, a posting is included in Career Builder; therefore, only two additional sites are required. Typically, E-Recruit for staff positions; a web site of a professional journal (for research positions) and the Chicago Reader meet the regulatory requirement.

Record-keeping requirements

The following documents must be kept for five years:

  • Copies of all resumes and applications 
  • Completed resume review sheet (hyper-link)
  • Copy of recruitment report
  • Copies of all advertisements
  • Copy of prevailing wage

Process flow

  1. Submit request to IO;
  2. Upon approval, IO will notify department and beneficiary;
  3. IO will request beneficiary to select a university approved attorney;
  4. IO will notify attorney of approval and begin the process;
  5. IO coordinates with attorney and department on the job description;
  6. Once approved, IO will post job with State Work Force Agency (SWA);
  7. Attorney will coordinate with department to advertise (as described) and begin the recruitment process;
  8. After recruitment period, department selects and offers position;
  9. Sponsoring department prepares a recruitment summary report;
  10. Attorney drafts labor certification and submits to IO for review;
  11. Upon approval, attorney files labor certification with Department of Labor (DOL);
  12. Upon certification, attorney prepares and submits form I-140 (immigrant petition) to IO;
  13. IO reviews and signs the I-140;
  14. Attorney submits to US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS);
  15. USICS approves, and attorney files form I-485 (adjustment application or "green card").

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