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Suppose a candidate finishing their PhD (in mathematics) is applying for teaching-oriented positions at universities, such as Assistant Teaching Professor, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Clinical Assistant Professor, or Lecturer. While these positions are typically not tenure-track, many of them are also not considered "temporary" positions. For example:

These non-tenure-track faculty positions are considered career positions that are not temporary, but with the expectation of reappointment and promotion.

(And disregarding the university's perspective, I believe a position is deemed non-temporary for US immigration purposes as long as there is a guaranteed funding for a minimum of three years.)

Depending on the university, these non-temporary teaching positions may be eligible for permanent residence sponsorship through EB-2 Special Handling Labor Certification (“PERM”). For example, University of Wisconson includes “Clinical and CHS faculty with primary teaching responsibilities who were offered the job within the past 18 months after a proper national recruitment was conducted” in the list of eligible individuals.

Question: Is it considered appropriate for the recruited employee to inquire about the university's willingness to submit an EB-2 special handling petition, as well as about the level of endorsement from the department, once an offer has been received?

On the one hand, it seems to me that it is inappropriate, because they don't know about how well the candidate would perform their teaching duties, whether they would want to keep them, and whether the department would be willing to pay all the processing fees (which the department is obliged to do by law, as far as I know). But on the other hand, EB-2 special handling petitions must be filed within 18 months from when the final recruitment was posted. So if it was posted in October 2020, the petition must be filed by April 2022, and by that time the candidate will have only worked one full semester at the university (assuming they started in Fall 2021), and it's still hard to evaluate their performance. (Edit: Some sources suggest that it is “within 18 months of the final selection of the scholar by the University”, in which case the university may have two semesters of teaching evidence instead of one.) While some universities have an official policy, such as requiring candidates to work for a year before initiating any immigration petitions (in such cases, it is unclear how they handle the filing of EB-2, possibly through re-hiring or considering EB-1 instead), many universities do not have a clearly defined publicly available policy regarding this matter. And even if they do, it still wouldn't hurt to make sure that it is still in force.

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  • [clarity] Is it considered appropriate, for the recruited employee, to inquire about the university's willingness to submit an EB-2 special handling petition ... ... or are you asking ... ... Is it considered appropriate, for the HR dept or hiring committee, to inquire from the department about the university's willingness to submit an EB-2 special handling petition, Jun 10, 2023 at 18:04
  • The former. I've updated the question.
    – user172172
    Jun 10, 2023 at 18:16

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If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Yes, it’s appropriate to ask. And if it’s a difficult question to answer for the reasons you outlined, well, answering a difficult question is one of the things that people in high level decision making positions (e.g., department chair, hiring committee chair) are paid to do. So the fact that the regulations regarding EB-2 special handling petitions may force the department to make a risky decision is not a reason not to ask the question. Moreover, a well-run university and department will likely have a standard policy on such matters, since the question is likely to come up routinely. In that case, the question won’t even inconvenience anyone.

The answer may not be what you want to hear, but it’s appropriate to ask.

Source: personal experience as professor and former department chair.

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Question: Is it considered appropriate for the recruited employee to inquire about the university's willingness to submit an EB-2 special handling petition

If the university/college has a Policy or Guideline or Rule for PERM, like that of Brandeis or the University of Wisconson you quoted, then it is appropriate to inquire.

If otherwise, you might have to 'sell' the idea/concept to them: I'll presume at the time of offer. RE 'sell': concise well researched brief.

Seltzer has an interesting write-up on PERM with reference to case law worth exploring.

Form I-140 petitions for EB2-1 Advanced degree seems to enjoy relatively fast processing for now. Obviously, there're no guarantees.

[Addendum] You might want to give EB2-NIW a shot.

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