IU Campus Branding Bar
 
 
Vice President for International Affairs
 
 
To:


From:

Re:
Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Deans, Chairs, Program Directors, and Designated International Administrators

Hannah Buxbaum, Vice President for International Affairs

Update on Immigration and Visa Issues Affecting U.S. Higher Education

As you know, one of the primary objectives of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs (OVPIA) is to help facilitate the worldwide mobility of students and scholars to and from Indiana University. Our work in that area includes regulatory compliance and advocacy as well as immigration and visa advising, support, and processing for foreign students and visiting scholars. It is conducted in close partnership with the Office of Federal Relations, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and our academic and professional associations.

The current regulatory environment presents increasing challenges. Securing immigration benefits for both our incoming and current population of international students and scholars has become increasingly difficult in an environment of “extreme vetting.” For example, we are seeing more and longer delays for many new and returning students and scholars attempting to obtain visas due to administrative processing times associated with heightened security measures. Individuals from countries affected by the travel ban are particularly vulnerable to major delays. Permanent residence, H-1B, and other employment-based petitions are subject to intense scrutiny and are becoming increasingly difficult to secure.

OVPIA has been actively responding to the array of executive orders and regulatory changes concerning visa and immigration matters that have caused these effects. We support thoughtful measures that enhance our nation’s security. At the same time, we advocate against harmful measures incongruent with the global mission of Indiana University. Our response has also focused on supporting our international community with a welcoming environment and with timely, accurate, and up-to-date information. I am grateful for the ongoing efforts by you and your colleagues to support all members of our diverse global community during these times of uncertainty for many.

With this context in mind, please help us prevent unnecessary visa delays and complications by sharing the following important reminders with your colleagues.

Consult Early and Often with OVPIA
Please encourage your colleagues to consult early and often with the Office of International Services (812-855-9086) for the Bloomington and regional campuses, or the Office of International Affairs (317-274-7000) for IUPUI and the School of Medicine statewide campuses, on matters concerning visa issues for foreign national faculty, staff, and students. Our expert immigration advisors are available to assist you and your colleagues in navigating these issues.

Use the Visa Waiver Program Cautiously
Please be advised that visitors seeking to enter the United States using the Visa Waiver Program are experiencing increased scrutiny at U.S. ports of entry. The program is a limited option for individuals from 37 designated countries who are permitted to visit the United States for 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa stamp in their passport.

Visitor activities are strictly limited to short-term opportunities such as consulting, negotiating contracts or partnership agreements, attending scientific or educational conferences or seminars, attending short-term training, or undertaking independent research. Visitors cannot be employed by the university and can only receive honoraria or reimbursement for expenses under strict criteria for a limited duration. For additional information concerning short-term visitors, see Visitor Visas.

Individuals coming to IU for active engagement related to a university partnership agreement are better served by the J-1 visa. The J-1 visa facilitates educational and cultural exchanges, including student and faculty exchanges and other forms of research, teaching, and scholarship. Obtaining a J-1 visa based on supporting visa documents from IU helps facilitate entry to the United States and avoid immigration status difficulties. Individuals who seek to use the Visa Waiver program to enter the United States for activities that are more clearly aligned with the purpose of the J-1 visa risk being turned away at the port of entry.

Plan for Foreign National Candidates in All Searches
As non-immigrant foreign nationals often emerge as highly competitive applicants for full-time academic and staff positions at IU, it is important for individuals with hiring responsibilities to be familiar with two IU policies before initiating a search:

IU Policy INT-06 University-Sponsored, Employment-Based Permanent Residence stipulates that departments work exclusively with OIS or OIA in hiring a foreign national for any position at IU. It also outlines the procedures necessary for IU to petition the U.S. federal government for permanent residence status for an IU employee. As U.S. permanent residence status is a condition for obtaining tenure at IU, academic departments conducting searches for tenure-track and tenured positions are encouraged to be familiar with this policy and consult closely with OIS or OIA in determining whether the position and applicant are eligible to be moved through the university-sponsored immigration petition process.

Searches to fill academic positions involving classroom teaching should adhere to Department of Labor (DOL) advertising requirements that are specific to instructional positions (here, the key is the classroom teaching component, not whether the position is tenurable). Positions not initially advertised correctly may require a re-recruitment effort to test the U.S. labor market for qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident candidates prior to pursuing permanent residence on behalf of the incumbent foreign national. Position advertising requirements are outlined in IU Policy ACA-77 Advertising for Academic Instructional Positions. Note that non-teaching positions will almost always require a re-advertising and recruitment process before IU can initiate an immigration petition on behalf of a foreign national incumbent employee.

Contact Us with Your Questions
We look forward to assisting you and your colleagues with these issues in the weeks and months ahead and are available for consultation at your convenience. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the OVPIA team with your questions and concerns.

Yours,
Hannah

 
 
IU Campus Branding Bar
 
 
 
Office of the Vice President for International Affairs
Indiana University

Bryan Hall, room 104
107 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
United States