Policy 129 - Employment of Foreign Nationals

Section: Employment
Policy Number: 129
Responsible Office: HR/Equal Opportunity and Compliance
Effective Date: 12/16/22


This policy applies to full-time faculty and administrators. For student immigration policies and procedures, visit International Student and Scholar Services.


This policy sets the guidelines for St. John’s University to sponsor foreign nationals for temporary employment authorization and/or applications for permanent residency based upon permanent employment within the United States. St. John’s University’s employment of foreign nationals is restricted to those who are authorized under law to accept employment in the United States.

As part of the employment process, all employees, including foreign nationals, are required to complete the federal United States Citizen and Immigration Service Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) no later than the end of the third day of employment.

The non-immigrant employee may not concurrently work for another employer while sponsored by the University without prior authorization.


  • Nonimmigrant is a noncitizen who is admitted to the United States for a specific temporary period of time.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa is a visa properly issued to a noncitizen as an eligible nonimmigrant by an authorized government agency.  Nonimmigrant visas provide a temporary immigration status of limited scope and duration and certain nonimmigrant classifications may allow a foreign national to work in the U.S. on behalf of the University.
  • Lawful Permanent Resident or Immigrant means a noncitizen who is lawfully authorized to live and work permanently within the United States without limitation.
  • Foreign national or Noncitizen or Alien are used interchangeably and mean a person without U.S. citizenship or nationality (may include a stateless person) as defined in section 101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.   

Types of Employment Visas/Lawful Permanent Residency:

  • H-1B -This is a nonimmigrant employment-based, temporary status designated for individuals who will be employed in a specialty occupation as defined by 20 CFR § 655.715.
  • TN - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
  • Lawful Permanent Residence – This status allows an individual to live and work permanently in the United States.


To be eligible for the H-1B classification, the prospective position must be in a specialty occupation, and the employee must have the specialized academic credentials required for the position. (A specialty occupation is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent). In addition, U.S. Department of Labor regulations require that the institution meet or exceed a determined minimum prevailing wage specific to the role and location, and that the employee be compensated with employment benefits equivalent to that of any other employee in the same position and level.


The H-1B classification is salary, location, job description, title, and employer specific.  Therefore, the employee’s department must contact Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EO&C) to initiate (or analyze if the position needs an amendment) an amended petition prior to any substantive changes to the H-1B employee’s activities including, but not limited to, changes in employment, compensation, location of employment, duration of appointment, change in immigration status, and termination of activity. Failure to comply with these regulations may jeopardize the lawful immigration status of the foreign national and their family as well as the University’s ability to sponsor foreign national employees in the future.

Sponsorship for H-1B Employees:

  1. When a non-immigrant employee is hired and accepts their offer of employment, the Vice President/Dean/Department Chair contacts the EO&C department to request to sponsor the employee.
  2. Upon receiving the request for sponsorship from the Vice President/Dean/Department Chair, EO&C provides an official request memo to the Vice President/Dean for signature in which the school/department accepts responsibility for all costs related to the employment visa process for the employee only.
  3. EO&C serves as the liaison between the department, employee and the outside law firm used by the University.
  4. The employee cannot begin employment with the University until it is confirmed by EO&C that the employee is eligible to begin work.

Sponsorship for Lawful Permanent Residency:

  1. At the time of renewal of the H-1B visa, the department/school should consider whether the employee is a good fit for the position, and whether it wishes to pursue permanent residency for the employee to continue employment beyond the expiration of the H-1B.
  2. The Vice President/Dean/Department Chair contacts the EO&C department to request to sponsor the employee.
  3. Upon receiving the request, EO&C provides an official request memo to the Vice President/Dean for signature in which the department/school accepts responsibility for all costs related to the first step of the permanent residency process, which is the PERM process. The employee is also provided with a memo for signature in which they accept responsibility for all costs related to the remainder of the process, steps 2 (I-140) and 3 (I-485).
  4. EO&C serves as the liaison between the department, employee and the outside law firm used by the University.
  5. The employee, and not the University, is responsible for maintaining their lawful permanent residency once the initial Green Card is received.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the immigration frequently asked questions located at the bottom of the Equal Opportunity and Compliance webpage.

St. John’s University, New York
Human Resources Policy Manual