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Hiring & Retaining International Employees

Contact:  [[ehbailey,Emily Bailey]], Assistant Director for Immigration Services

We are here to support you as you welcome international hires to our community.

Full Description
As we enter hiring season, we wanted to provide information that may be relevant to hiring and retaining individuals who are not US citizens or US permanent residents.
Work visa sponsorship through the Office of International, Students, Scholars & Programs (ISSP)
  • For people who do not have current work authorization, we can help explore possible immigration options. Depending on the position, and the employee’s personal circumstances, this may mean sponsoring an employee for H-1B or J-1 status, or sometimes other immigration options.
  • Some of these options can take months to be approved, so we encourage you to reach out to our office as soon as you are able.
  • A summary of immigration options is available on our Visitor, Scholar and Employee Visas page.
People with existing work authorization
  • Some international hires may already have work authorization. We still encourage you to put them into contact with our office, as in some cases this work authorization may eventually expire.
  • In many cases, getting new work authorization can take months, so being in touch with new hires at the beginning of the process will ensure a smoother outcome for all.
Retaining international faculty and staff
  • We encourage supervisors to have conversations with their international employee and our office, to develop a plan for the employee’s long-term employment at the university. For example, are there plans to renew the contract of a visiting faculty? Does a faculty or staff need an employment-based permanent residency sponsorship?
  • The renewal of a current work authorization can often take months; therefore, we recommend that departments submit the request to extend an employee’s work authorization at least three months before the current work authorization ends.
  • W&M and VIMS may also sponsor eligible international employees for employment-based permanent residency. Permanent residency, sometimes also referred to as "green card", permits a foreign national to reside and work in the US permanently.
    • For positions with teaching duties, the permanent residency process must be initiated with ISSP no later than 6 months after the offer letter is issued to meet Department of Labor requirements and deadlines. 
Partners in hiring and retention
  • We are happy to talk with departments, candidates, new hires, and current employees, at any stage.
    • We can help to evaluate what the immigration options are for a position, even before hiring.
    • We can also be a stop for candidates, if they come to campus for an interview.
  • Feel free to refer people to us, even as a line in an email or offer letter (“Let me connect you with ISSP..”; “If you have need of visa sponsorship, please contact ISSP for more information”)
  • Providing immigration options up front can relieve stress for candidates.
  • Supporting international employees contributes to W&M’s strategic plan values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.