W&M, at its discretion, may sponsor 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 United States permanently. Several avenues exist through which one may become a permanent resident, one of them being sponsored employment. When an employer sponsors an individual for permanent residency, the employer declares its intent to employ the individual in a position of indefinite duration.
Understanding Permanent Residency Sponsorship
For purposes of this policy, "sponsorship" constitutes an agreement by W&M to authorize the state-appointed attorney to file an application for Labor Certification and/or I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker on its behalf with the employee as the beneficiary. Sponsorship is at the discretion of the university. Sponsorship does not imply any financial agreement with regard to the costs of the process, with the exception of the costs associated with Labor Certification, which the university is required to pay. The university cannot guarantee to an employee that it will obtain permanent residency for him/her. The university also reserves the right to end the sponsorship process.
Responsibility of the Employing Department
The employing department must agree to sponsor its employee for permanent residency and assume the required costs for labor certification. The head of department will sign the Permanent Residency Sponsorship and Financial Agreement (pdf) authorizing the Reves Center to proceed with the permanent residency process and outline any additional costs it agrees to reimburse.
Responsibility of the Reves Center for International Studies
The Director of International Students, Scholars, and Programs (currently [[ywong, Eva Wong]]) coordinates the permanent residency sponsorship process with the employee, attorney, and employing department. The director compiles the recruitment report for the Labor Certification Application and as the representative of the university, reviews and signs the respective applications prepared by the attorney.
The Reves Center is responsible for assisting the employee in securing the appropriate non-immigrant status until the permanent residency application is approved or the employee is no longer employed by the university.
Responsibility of the State-Appointed Immigration Attorney
Working closely with the Reves Center, the state appointed immigration attorney will file a petition for the employee on behalf of W&M. In addition to filing the applications, the immigration attorney handles all relevant correspondence with the federal government and serves as the primary advisor to the employee with regard to the permanent residency application.
Responsibility of the Sponsored Employee
It is the responsibility of the sponsored employee to ensure that he/she maintains a legal immigration status for the duration of his/her employment at the university. This responsibility includes providing the requested documents to the Reves Center and state-appointed immigration attorney in a timely manner so that they may file the necessary immigration applications on his/her behalf.
For permanent residency applications sponsored by the university (i.e., the Labor Certification and the I-140), the services of the state-appointed immigration attorney will be used. For the adjusting or “changing” status from a temporary status to permanent resident (I-485), the sponsored employee may file his/her own petition or use any attorney of his /her choice.