Higher Ed FAQs: What is the 18 Month Window for 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. And we're focused on questions regarding the recruitment, retention and hiring of non citizen personnel at colleges and universities.

Today's question is really focused on special handling, specifically: 

What is the 18 month window in a special handling case?

This has been a tricky issue for colleges and universities when they want to sponsor a faculty member for a green card. This 18 month clock when does it start ticking? What does it mean? How does it affect us?

In a perm special handling case, the government has said you must file the perm case with the US Department of Labor within 18 months of the selection of the professor in order to use the recruitment that you already have conducted to select that professor or that faculty member? Well, what does that select the faculty member mean?

The government has really defined that as when the college or university issues the offer letter to that Professor, that starts the 18 month clock. And it that's when you have to look at the date on the offer letter and focus on where does that 18 month window end and you have to then fit your perm or special handling case within that 18 month window and get it filed.

The other thing you need to consider in this 18 month window is getting a prevailing wage done. All perm cases, special handling or otherwise, require that you have a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor in order to file. Ordinarily, this wouldn't cause issues or be a part of this video. But recently, the Department of Labor has been taking at least five months to issue prevailing wage determinations. As a college or university looking at special handling, you need to factor that five month period into your overall 18 month window in order to make sure you get your case filed on time.

If you have questions about any of these timelines, anything that we've talked about in this video, we offer complimentary consultations. We're here to help you get through some of these really difficult issues. Give us a call, check out our website, send us an email. We're happy to help.