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September 28, 2005


RE: Exception Process - H1-B Visa Classification

Earlier this year, the campus announced the new provisions of the H1-B Visa Reform Act. At that time, we outlined the titles that were eligible for sponsorship. That basic information has not changed.

In response to an increasing demand to allow Postdoctoral Scholars to be sponsored for H1-B visas, we are initiating a new process to be used to request an exception to the UCI H-1B policy. The new process replaces the procedures outlined in the earlier communication.

Attached is a form to be completed and used instead of processing letters requesting exception. Effective immediately, these requests will no longer come to Academic Personnel for my review and approval, but should be sent directly to the International Center. Please note, to cover the increased workload these requests will create for staff in the International Center, a $1200 fee will be recharged to the departments requesting this exception. Federal fund sources cannot be used for these fees or for the USCIS filing fees.

We have also attached a chart which compares the benefits of applying for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Status as well as the restrictions and difficulties of bypassing this category. Supervisors of Postdoctoral Scholar applicants should review and discuss the information on the chart before completing the request for exception. If the supervisor still wishes to sponsor an exception, the Information Form should be completed and sent directly to the International Center. A copy of the form should be forwarded to the appropriate Dean's Office. The form and Information Sheet can be found on the International Center's website at www.ic.uci.edu.

The campus position concerning the appropriateness of seeking an H1-B visa for Postdoctoral Scholars has not changed. Since University policy considers a Postdoctoral Scholar position to be a "training position" for a period up to five years, it is still inappropriate to hire Scholars on a visa type primarily reserved for appointees in career positions. The J-1 visa remains the visa of choice for Postdoctoral Scholar appointees.

I also remind you to consider the Scholar's eligibility for future employment positions. Once all six years of H1-B eligibility have been used, it is highly unlikely that the Scholar will have an opportunity to secure a teaching or research position that will allow them to apply for Permanent Residence. Bypassing the years on J-1 status and going directly to H1-B, they sacrifice years of preparation to accumulate achievements and recognition to obtain a job offer that includes sponsorship for Permanent Residence. In the end, a very high percentage of Scholars are forced to return home.

Any questions regarding this information or appropriate visa usage should be directed to Anna Wimberly (824-7249 or acwimber@uci.edu) or to Christine McCarthy (824-7249 or cmccarth@uci.edu) in the International Center.


Herbert P. Killackey
Associate Executive Vice Chancellor



Information Form
Benefit Comparison

cc: Anna Wimberly
Christine McCarthy
Chief Personnel Officers
Academic Personnel

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Sept 29, 2005