6.15—Employment of Foreign Nationals

Effective: 01/13/2014
Senate Proposal: No
Responsible University Officer: Vice President for Administration and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: Human Resources

Policy Statement

Michigan Tech provides immigration support services to prospective and current employees, and their dependents. Immigration support service for employees and their dependents (H-1B, H4, EB-2 Advanced Degree Holder, and green card petitions) is provided by Academic Human Resources.

Policy Requirements

To be eligible for a Michigan Tech petition for permanent residency (green card petitions), an employee must be regular faculty, full-time research faculty, research staff, or professional staff, and have the endorsement of a dean, director, chair, or Executive Team member.

See Appendix A for required documents for H-1B petitions.

Reason for Policy

Hiring a foreign national employee differs significantly from hiring a U.S. citizen, and requires the hiring unit to obtain an employment-based visa before the individual can work in the U.S. This policy applies to hiring foreign nationals for non-student regular and short-term positions only.

Human Resources is responsible for promoting and monitoring provisions of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Act, as amended, and the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, and overseeing the employment of foreign nationals (non-citizens, immigrant and non-immigrant aliens).

Related Policy Information

The following employment-based visa categories are used at Michigan Tech:

  • H-1B Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation
  • H4 Dependent
  • EB-2 Advanced Degree Holder - teaching faculty (special handling)
  • Permanent Residency ("Green Card")

Prospective and current students and exchange visitors should contact International Programs and Services at https://www.mtu.edu/international/.

See Appendix B for descriptions and requirements for specific nonimmigrant category.

The University does not provide legal advice, but can help refer questions requiring legal counsel to immigration counsel. Individuals seeking or needing personal legal advice should consult their own attorney.


Part-time, temporary, and/or student employees, and employees not endorsed by a dean, director, chair or Executive Team member are not provided immigration support from Human Resources.


Office/Unit Name Telephone Number
Academic Human Resources 906-487-2509
For Fee Schedule, please see:


Alien — Any person not a citizen or national of the United States as defined by the Department of Homeland Security.

EB-2 Advanced Degree Holder — An employment-based visa category for teaching faculty (special handling). This category is used for college and university professors and is eligible for a reduced form of labor certification called "Special Handling." The position must include classroom teaching duties. In order for the position to qualify for the special handling process, the hiring department must have selected the alien in a competitive recruitment process and the labor certification must be filed within 18 months from when the individual was selected.

See Appendix A for requirements and documents needed.

Executive Team Member — Included in this category are all officers holding titles such as vice president, chief information officer, chief financial officer, president, or the equivalents.

F-1 OPT — "Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student's major area of study. Under the prior rules, an F-1 student could be authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies."

Foreign National — Any person who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and requires the appropriate employment related visa status.

Full-Time and Regular Faculty — Includes faculty that are tenured, tenure-track, research, non-tenure track lecturers, senior lecturer, principal lecturer, and professor of practice.

Full-Time and Regular Staff — An employee who fills an established position, who is not a temporary replacement, and is normally scheduled to work 40 hours per week.

Green Card (Permanent Resident) — Authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card." There are several ways to become a permanent resident. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, an individual may be eligible to file for themselves.

H-1B Persons in Specialty Occupation — Authorization for foreign nationals to work in the United States in specialty occupations. Requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security.

H-4 Visa — Authorization to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders.

Immigrant — An alien who seeks to be a permanent resident in the United States without any time limitation. In order to immigrate, one should either have an immigrant visa or have a dual intent visa, which is one that is compatible with making a concurrent application for permanent resident status (Green Card), or having an intention to apply for permanent residence.

J-1 Exchange Visitor (J) — Approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S., under provisions of U.S. immigration law, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security.

Nonimmigrant — An alien who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. The alien must have a permanent residence abroad (for most classes of admission) and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought. The nonimmigrant classifications include: foreign government officials, visitors for business and for pleasure, aliens in transit through the United States, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and trainees, representatives of foreign information media, exchange visitors, fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens, intracompany transferees, NATO officials, religious workers, and some others. Most nonimmigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children. Definition per Department of Homeland Security.

Permanent Resident Alien — "An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States." Definition per Department of Homeland Security.


Director, Department Chair, or Dean — Provides the necessary information to Human Resources for completion of all petitions; as necessary, determines whether or not to engage the University's counsel, funds the legal and filing fees associated with a visa upgrade at the cost sharing rate, and determines whether or not an upgrade of an EB-2 Special Handling petition for tenure-track faculty to an EB-1 Outstanding Researcher and Professor or EB-2 National Interest Waiver petition is required, when the faculty member's discipline requires funding from federal agencies that require permanent residency, forwards the upgrade request to the director of Human Resources, and signs any immigration-related documents.

Employee — Provides the requested information to the department and/or Human Resources for completion of all petitions, cooperates in gathering and organizing evidence to support the petition that is sent to outside counsel, and is responsible to pay for the filing fees and related costs to the I-485 adjustment of status application.

Employing Department — Contacts Immigration and Visa Services prior to the extending a formal offer of employment to a candidate who is foreign national to discuss visa issues; ensures to pay prevailing wages as determined by the Department of Labor; contacts Immigration and Visa Services if there is a substantive change in an appointment affecting such a faculty or staff member.

Immigration and Visa Services — Assists the employee and employing department with determining the employment related visa application and documents required; within 18 months of the offer made to faculty, files and tracks an EB2 Special Handling petition for eligible employees; receives requests for upgrades to an EB1 Outstanding Researcher and Professor or EB-2 National Interest Waiver and coordinates with outside counsel; forwards documents to government agencies when applicable; and contacts employee and employing department when government approvals are made.


In support of this policy, the following procedures are included:


Adoption Date

01/10/2014 Approved by Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
01/13/2014 Approved by Vice President for Administration


08/07/2018 To reflect current practice, changed the title of the Provost to "Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs"
04/10/2017 Transfer of policy page from HTML to CMS. Business and Finance numbers renamed from "2.6000" to "6. Human Resources". Specifically from "2.6015—Employment of Foreign Nationals" to "6.15—Employment of Foreign Nationals".