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UWM Policy on Sponsoring for Permanent Residence

The process of sponsoring an employee for US permanent residence through employment requires the University to petition the immigration service on behalf of the employee. No UWM department or individual has the authority to promise current or prospective employees that the University will be a sponsor for permanent resident status. The decision to file such an application must be made by the appropriate Dean in consultation with the Center for International Education (CIE). The petitioning process is lengthy, involving up to three government agencies, and the final decision to grant the permanent residence must be made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  It is never a certainty that the permanent residence will be approved by USCIS and therefore should not be promised by departments or individuals as an enticement to a prospective employee.

A. Responsibility for payment of fees:
1. The employing department may pay some or all fees associated with the permanent residency process at its discretion.  The sponsored faculty member otherwise assumes all financial obligations.  (Please see endnote) 

B. The following categories of UWM employees may qualify for University sponsorship for permanent residence, in order of priority:
1. New tenure-track or tenured faculty, who have been hired within the past 18 months.
2. Research staff who hold or have been offered a permanent* research position and who appear to qualify for the “Outstanding Professor Researcher” category.  To qualify for this category please see D1.
Permanent” is defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) as a position in which there is no anticipated ending date on the part of both the employer and the employee. In the case of positions which are grant-funded, it is possible to consider them to be permanent provided there is a reasonable expectation that the funding will continue into the foreseeable future.
3. Other:  The University may pursue permanent residency on behalf of certain individuals who do not appear to meet the above mentioned requirements. Under exceptional circumstances, the CIE, in consultation with the appropriate Dean and with the approval of the Provost, may make limited exceptions to this policy.

C. UWM will not seek permanent resident status for classified staff or employees-in-training.

D. Contingent upon eligibility in the categories outlined above, a new staff member’s application will be prepared according to one of the two options below:
1. Outstanding Professor/Researcher. Approval of an outstanding professor/researcher petition can be obtained if the University can demonstrate that a sponsored employee has an exceptional record of scholarly achievement in his or her field. More than three years of teaching and/or postdoctoral research experience, a very strong record of publications, superlative evaluations by recognized experts in the field, and the receipt of international prizes, awards, or other forms of professional recognition are usually required to obtain USCIS approval of an outstanding professor/researcher petition.
2. Labor Certification for Faculty Teaching Positions. The University can apply to the Department of Labor (DOL) for labor certification using the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management System) for a sponsored employee appointed to a tenure track or tenured faculty teaching position (as an assistant, associate or full professor). The University must demonstrate that the faculty member was selected using a competitive recruitment and selection process.  Although the PERM application is online, UWM must summarize the details of the recruitment process and maintain documentation of all PERM attestations.   
1. Please note that labor certification applications in this category must be filed with the DOL within eighteen months of the sponsored employee's selection for the position. 
2. The majority of UWM faculty members will be sponsored under the Labor Certification for Faculty Teaching Positions.  The individual’s ability to apply for permanent residence through employment is based upon the approval of the University’s petition and the individual’s “green card” application.  In most cases the process is as follows:
1. UWM will file an application for Alien Employment Certification (more commonly known as Labor Certification or PERM) with the federal DOL;
2. Following the approval of the DOL application, UWM must then file an Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker (I-140) with USCIS;
3. The sponsored faculty member will apply for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence (I-485) with USCIS or follow a process called consular processing at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate;
4. The I-140 and I-485 applications can be filed separately or concurrently.  However, an I-485 cannot be approved until the I-140 is approved.  

NOTE: Wisconsin state law prohibits state agencies from retaining an attorney without the approval of the Governor. An individual employee may engage counsel at any time to represent his or her own interests, provided such representation does not relate to any legal interests of the University. Faculty members may not sign form G-28 to designate an attorney to assist, advise or represent the University in the preparation and submission of employer-based petitions or documents. Furthermore, a University representative may not sign form ETA-9089 or form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker filed after the Labor Certification is approved) which has been prepared by an outside attorney on behalf of the University. These forms contain facts and evidence being presented by the employer, not the employee, so they cannot be prepared by an outside attorney and signed by a faculty member or other University representative.

In those instances where an employee may qualify for either the “Extraordinary Ability” category or the “National Interest Waiver,” the employee may engage outside counsel, as these petitions are not employer-based and do not require the signature of any UWM representative.

Download UWM PR Sponsorship Policy PDF