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Employer Based Residency

The university will not sponsor permanent residence for the following:

  • Non-immigrants who are in temporary and/or part-time positions, such as postdoctoral scholars and visiting scientists, because these positions do not meet regulatory standards as required for permanent residence.
  • Positions with a bachelor’s degree as the minimum requirement because they often difficult to be processed and approved by the Department of Labor and involve lengthy backlogs and wait times.

The university may sponsor permanent residence under the following conditions:

  • The candidate holds a permanent position at the University of Kentucky. "Permanent" is defined by immigration guidelines as employment that is intended to be of an indefinite or unlimited duration. In other words, the nature of the position is such that the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment. In these cases, the request for the university to sponsor the application must be approved by the applicant’s chair, director or dean of the college.
  • The position demonstrates secured funding that is either regular in nature, or in the case of a grant-funded position, includes a reasonable expectation that funding will continue.
  • The candidate maintains a valid non-immigrant employment status while the application is being processed.
  • The supervisor or department head agrees to sign the documentation required. Please note that sponsorship or signatures on documentation doesn't necessarily include a responsibility to pay legal and/or other processing fees. The department's responsibility to pay fees will depend on the type of case and whether the use of attorney is involved in the process.

Working with Outside Attorneys
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is here to assist  hiring officials in filing most types of permanent residency cases in-house, especially when the university has already determined that the employee meets the criteria and university guidelines for sponsorship.  However, some cases may require the services of outside counsel. This must be decided in consultation with ISSS.

ISSS must approve all attorneys prior to any work commencing on behalf of the employee or the University of Kentucky.  Departments are required to initiate this process by submitting one of the following assessment forms according to the category of sponsorship below.  If unsure about which pathway is best, please contact the director of ISSS, Elizabeth Leibach to discuss each category.

Requiring Employer Sponsorship

I.    Members of the Professions Holding an Advanced Degree
This category is reserved for positions with a master’s degree or higher as the minimum requirement.  The university must file a permanent labor certification and show evidence of having conducted a search and recruitment process which meets or exceeds U.S. Department of Labor requirements.  For teaching positions there exists a more streamlined process (EB-2 Special Handling) which allows for the use of existing recruitment documentation.  However, for non-teaching staff and even some instructor positions UK will be required to conduct a new search and recruitment process (EB-2 Standard Recruitment). Obtaining this type of employment-based permanent residence consists of the following steps:

  1. Recruitment for the position following U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines.
  2. Application for Permanent Emplyment Certification (ETA-9089) filed with DOL.
  3. Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (I-140) and approved ETA-9089 filed with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
  4. Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485) filed with USCIS.

ISSS will be able to assist in filing these types of cases for teaching positions (EB-2 Special Handling) without the assistance of an attorney for all teaching positions.  For teaching positions, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services will prepare the ETA-9089 application and the I-140 petition. In order to begin the process, departments should contact William Arnold to schedule a meeting with both the supervisor and the employee.  The department will be required to complete all forms and submit all documentation as described in the Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) "Labor Certification Packet".  As indicated in the packet, some sections will be completed by the employee only (e.g. Part III). 

For non-teaching positions, the services of an attorney are generally always required (EB-2 Standard Recruitment). Attorneys representing the university must follow steps as outlined in the Attorney Guide.  Because the attorney will be representing the University of Kentucky, first contact Elizabeth Leibach. A "Department LC Assessment Form" will be requested from the department before any attorney is hired and prior to the commencement of any immigration work.

NOTEAll fees associated with the filing of a Permanent Labor Certification must be absorbed by the employer (i.e. department or college).  It is unlawful for the employee to pay any fees associated with the filing of a permanent labor certification (Form ETA 9089).

II.   Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-1b)
This category is for faculty and researchers with at least three years of experience in the academic area who are recognized internationally as outstanding. There must be an offer of a tenured or tenure-track teaching, or a permanent research position.

For this category the services of an attorney are required. Because the attorney will be representing the University of Kentucky, first contact Elizabeth Leibach for more information. A Department Form I-140 Assessment Form will be requested from the department before any attorney is hired and prior to the commencement of any immigration work.  Attorneys representing the university must follow steps as outlined in the Attorney Guide.

NOTE:  The employee and/or the department may absorb costs as determined by the supervisor, department head or business officer for EB-1b cases.

If you have any questions about which category is the best option or pathway for an employee, please contact Elizabeth Leibach.