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Immigration

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) helps coordinate the petitioning for H-1B, TN, J-1, and other non-immigrant visas needed by foreign nationals for employment at the University of Memphis (UofM). Our office also provides PERM-based (EB-2) permanent residency petitioning for tenured or tenure-track faculty members upon approval of the employing department. Please note that valid work authorization is required for anyone providing services to the UofM. Individuals providing services without valid work authorization are in violation of their visa.

Hiring a foreign national employee differs significantly from hiring a U.S. citizen, and may require the hiring department to obtain employment authorization before the individual can work at the UofM. The process of obtaining employment authorization takes time and may involve many different organizations, including, but not limited to: the hiring department, human resources, OLC, U.S. Department of Labor, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Depending on the type of immigration status being sought, hiring departments may need to start the visa request process with the OLC 6-8 months in advance of the hire date.

The following are some of the employment eligibility categories that may be available for foreign nationals working at the UofM:

  • H-1B Visa: Used primarily for full-time teaching and research positions. The position must qualify as a "specialty occupation," which requires a "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement."
  • E-3 Visa: Used for Australian citizens in a full-time "specialty occupation" that requires a "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement."
  • TN Temporary Workers: Canadian and Mexican citizens who are coming to the US to engage in specified professional activities under provisions of the NAFTA treaty.
  • Permanent Residency (Green Card): The OLC assists sponsoring departments and their qualifying foreign national employees with PERM-based (EB-2) permanent residency petitioning for tenured or tenure-track faculty members.
  • J-1 Visa: Allows UofM departments to sponsor Exchange Visitors to come to the UofM to study, conduct research, and teach as part of an Exchange Visitor Program ("EVP"). The general purpose of the EVP is to promote international, educational and cultural exchange, and to develop mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries.

The OLC is designated as the exclusive signatory authority to sign official immigration documents. Individual faculty and/or department representatives cannot engage outside attorneys for any UofM action, nor pay attorneys for services on behalf of the UofM, nor sign off on immigration documentation related to UofM sponsorship. Failure to comply with these provisions will result in notification to the adjudicating agency that the petition or application was unauthorized and should be withdrawn or revoked.

Those wishing to learn more about the different types of immigration visas should contact the Office of Legal Counsel at 901-678-2155 or visa@memphis.edu.