Higher Ed FAQs: Should I Sponsor a Green Card through EB-1B or Special Handling?

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I'm Russell Ford, founding partner of FordMurray, an immigration law firm based in Portland, Maine, with clients nationwide. We're focusing on questions regarding the recruitment, retention, and hiring of noncitizen employees at institutions of higher education. We're focused on the question that we often get from our clients, which is: I've got a professor on staff who I want to sponsor for a green card, and we're considering which option and the two most common options for professors on campus are the EB-1 B outstanding professor, or a special handling labor certification. And when does it make sense to do either.


Now, without getting deep into the weeds on this short video, and EB-1B can be an advantage for folks in backlog categories, primarily, individuals from India, China, the Philippines and Mexico, where they have long wait periods for their green card, if they can be in the EB-1 category. And they meet those criteria if they're an advanced degree professor and they're on a tenure track. They are one of the top individuals in their field. They've got lots of publications, great citations, awards, other factors that the government looks for in that Outstanding Professor category, it could benefit them by giving them a step up in the line for a green cord. It also allows them and the university to avoid having to go through the labor certification process.

Now, as we discussed in a prior video, the labor certification process for institutions of higher education, special handling is a very advantageous process. And if you can utilize that process and you have, or you are within your 18 months of recruitment, the special handling process can be very fast, very efficient, and very quick for a university. And oftentimes, that process makes more sense for the university because there is less labor and time and cost involved in that process than an EB-1.

So there could be some competing interests. There could be some tension between the two categories. But I think overall, when you look on it at a case by case basis, and you have a consultation with an attorney like us, we can walk you through the pros and cons of that particular case. Does it make sense for this particular professor? And does it make sense for our university to use one or the other, or in some instances, it might make sense to use both where you can hedge your bets and do both categories and give you and the individual and advantage in the process?

Tricky, sometimes confusing, and because of that, we do offer complimentary consultations. We're here to help answer these questions help you work through the pros, the cons, what's good, what's bad, how do I know what's best for our professor, our university. So check out our website, give us a call. We're happy to help you through those issues. Thanks.