International Student and Scholar Visa Advisor

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Campus, ILLINOIS
Job Type: FullTime

POSITION OBJECTIVE

Working under general direction, the International Student and Scholar Visa Advisor advises and assists the Case Western Reserve international population, primarily in F, J, and H visa status, regarding all non-immigrant visa compliance issues. The visa advisor will assist and guide prospective and current international students, scholars, faculty, and staff through the visa application process, ensuring compliance with immigration laws and regulations. The advisor will provide valuable support and advice to enrolled students, helping them navigate the complexities of obtaining a student visa and ensuring a smooth transition to their desired educational institution. The International Student and Scholar Visa Advisor is responsible for advising international populations on complex immigration regulations as well as academic, employment, personal, financial, social, and cross-cultural concerns.

The International Student and Scholar Visa Advisor must utilize current knowledge of federal, state, local and university regulations that affect international students, scholars, employees, faculty and their dependents, and must maintain unique training and knowledge related to United States immigration regulations and will serve as a designated school official (DSO) and alternative responsible officer (ARO) for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

 

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

Student Support and Visa Services (60%)

  • Student Visa Guidance: Coordinate with academic departments and admissions offices to obtain applications for newly admitted international students. Provide accurate and up-to-date information on visa requirements, application procedures, and necessary documentation to international students. Assist students in understanding the immigration regulations and help them complete visa application forms correctly. Be available, responsive, and able to exercise discretion in the event of a crisis.
  • Advising Services: Offer personalized advice to international students on visa options, eligibility criteria, and any specific requirements related to their chosen destination country or educational institution. Address students' queries and concerns regarding visa processes, deadlines and related matters, and complex immigration-related issues such as visa issuance or adjustments, travel and re-entry to the United States, employment eligibility, change of immigration status, course-load requirements, and transfers into/from Case Western Reserve University, as well as academic, personal, financial, social, and cross-cultural concerns. Serve as an academic advisor for students participating in curricular practical training (CPT), optional practical training (OPT), and OPT STEM extension.
  • Document Verification: Review and verify students' visa application documents to ensure accuracy, completeness, and compliance with immigration guidelines. Advise students on any missing or additional documents needed for their visa application. Evaluate applications independently to approve the preparation and issuance of government documents (I-20 and DS-2019 Forms) for visa eligibility for students and scholars, as well as their dependents, and to ensure the university’s compliance with all federal immigration regulations.
  • Application Support: Assist students in preparing their visa application packages, including necessary supporting documents, financial statements, and sponsorship letters. Provide guidance on scheduling visa interviews, medical examinations, and other required procedures.
  • Communication and Coordination: Liaise with immigration authorities, educational institutions, and other relevant stakeholders on behalf of students to resolve visa-related issues or concerns. Maintain clear and prompt communication channels with students throughout the visa application process. Use independent judgment when making referrals to other individuals/offices on campus to resolve problems.
  • Recordkeeping and Reporting: Maintain accurate and organized records of students' visa applications, approvals, rejections, and any visa-related correspondence. Generate reports and updates on visa application statuses as required by the VISA Office, university administration, and government agencies as directed by the director.
  • Compliance and Regulations: Stay updated with the latest immigration policies, regulations, and changes affecting international students. Maintain knowledge of visa restrictions, work limitations, and conditions of stay for students in the destination country.
  • Serve as a designated school official (DSO) and alternate responsible officer (ARO) for Case Western Reserve University. This role requires U.S. government adjudication and training and gives the advisor the independent authority to advise international students on a case-by-case basis on their legal immigration status in the United States. Stay current regarding knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations as they affect international students through specific and ongoing training and to trends in higher education though involvement with professional organizations.
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    Employment Visa Services (30%)

  • Visa Guidance: Develop and maintain a clear understanding of all university programs to hire and retain non-US workers. Advise schools, hiring departments, and supervisors on potential visa options for incoming faculty, staff, and scholars. Respond to routine immigration inquiries from departments and supervisors. Provide accurate and up-to-date information on visa requirements, application procedures, and necessary documentation.
  • Advising Services: Evaluate and advise nonimmigrants on immigration-related matters. Provide expertise and counsel to nonimmigrant and immigrant workers with compliance-related issues.
  • Visitor Exchange Program: Provide guidance, support, and assistance to individuals, departments, and supervisors involved in the J-1 visa process. Administer and manage J-1 visa programs, ensuring compliance with the regulations set by the Department of State. Facilitate the application process, monitor program activities, and maintain program records. Assist applicants in gathering the necessary documentation, such as application forms, letters of support, and program proposals. Evaluate applications independently assess the eligibility of individuals to participate in J-1 visa programs, including review applications, evaluate qualifications, determine specific J-1 visa category, and verify that the proposed activities align. Prepare government documents (DS-2019 Forms). Support J-1 visa participants throughout their program; answer questions, address concerns, and offer advice on matters related to visa regulations, travel, housing, healthcare, and cultural adjustment. Serve as a point of contact between designated sponsors, government agencies, and program participants. Facilitate program oversight, monitor participants' progress, and resolve any issues that may arise during the program.
  • Visa Preparation: Administer the university’s non-immigrant worker program. Communicate with foreign nationals, departments, and supervisors regarding data collection and analysis, petition preparation, and supporting documentation. Analyze job duties and the potential specialty occupations. Prepare H-1B, TN, O-1, or E-3 petitions.
  • Legal Permanency Support: Coordinate with outside counsel on documentation for Green Cards, including the PERM process, Labor Certifications, and Form I-140, among others.
  • Recordkeeping and Reporting: Manage documentation for public access files, prevailing wage requests, labor condition applications (LCA), and petitions in compliance with H-1B regulations. Manage required physical premises postings as needed. Gather information and respond to government requests for evidence (RFE), as needed. Comply with record keeping and compliance requirements. Prepare detailed statistical reports for the VISA Office, university administration, and government agencies, as directed by the director.
  • Compliance and Regulations: Stay updated with the latest immigration policies, regulations, and changes affecting international employees. Maintain knowledge of visa restrictions, work limitations, travel restrictions, etc. Ensure compliance with any changes in the rules and communicate updates to the international community. Assist with completion of I-9 documentation, payroll, and potential federal tax exemptions under tax treaties.
  • Serve as an alternative responsible officer (ARO) for Case Western Reserve University. This role requires U.S. government adjudication and training and gives the advisor the independent authority to advise international scholars on a case-by-case basis on their legal immigration status in the United States. Stay current regarding knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations as they affect international scholars through specific and ongoing training and to trends in higher education though involvement with professional organizations.
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    General Campus Services (10%)

  • Training and Communications: Deliver workshops, programs, and other training to keep international students well-informed about immigration regulations, academic success, and intercultural competence. Be a resource for faculty and staff about immigration policies and procedures as they relate to Case Western Reserve University’s academic policies. Deliver workshops, programs, and other training to international faculty, staff, and scholars about immigration regulations, new developments, and other topics of interest to the international employee populations. Update and maintain accurate content on the VISA website, other written materials (such as newsletters), and communication or resources to human resources administrators, supervisors, and the international community, as directed by supervisor.
  • Continuous Improvement: Identify areas for process improvement and suggest strategies to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the student or employment visa advisory services. Stay updated on industry best practices and share knowledge with VISA team members. Must have U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent residence to meet ARO/DSO reporting requirements as required by U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State.
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    NONESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

  • Provide feedback and recommendations annually on immigration policies and procedures. (<1%)
  • Participate in training sessions, monthly staff meetings, Human Resources and VISA projects, and team projects. (<1%)
  • Participate in and support university events planned by the Human Resources event planning committee (e.g., Benefits Fair, Staff Service Awards, Employee Appreciation Day, Party on the Quad, etc .) (<1%)
  • Perform other duties as assigned. (<1%)
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    Since negligence or lack of knowledge will subject Case Western Reserve University to fines and/or subject non-immigrants to deportation, there are no non-essential immigration-related functions.

     

    CONTACTS

    Department:  Frequent daily contact with the VISA staff. Regular contact with HR leadership, HR Service Center, HR Records Office, and HR Employment Office. Frequent contact with other HR staff.

    University: Daily contact with various university offices, including the Admissions Office, Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies, Student Employment, the University Registrar’s Office, Office of General Counsel, Office of Student Affairs (e.g., when referring a student for services (such as counseling, career series, health services, or planning a jointly sponsored program), Payroll Office, Graduate Payroll Office, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, [U]Tech (e.g., to assure continued effective operation of the interface between Ellucian, the international student database, and the university’s Student Information System, or Windstar and HCM, so that all SEVIS and tax reporting requirements can be met). Regular contact international populations on campus, including prospective students, enrolled students, applicants and newly onboarded employees. Daily contact with academic departments or administrators, PIs / supervisors of international employees, staff, faculty, and scholars. 

    External: Regular contact with USCIS, the Department of State, foreign Embassies and Educational Consulates, the Institute of International Education (IIE), the FBI and US Immigration and Custom Enforcement, and other agencies involved in international education/employment and visa compliance. Regular contact with peer institutions U.S. institutions to arrange for transfer of SEVIS records. Occasional contact with SEVIS, TerraDotta, or Windstar software help desks. Daily contact with accepted students and family members prior to arrival.   

    Students: Daily interaction with undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students for individual advising on visa maintenance, travel, and academic requirements. Daily contact with applicants and newly admitted students prior to arrival.

     

    SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY 

    None.

     

    QUALIFICATIONS

    Education: Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in a relevant field (e.g ., international education or international relations, immigration law, education, or related discipline). Master’s degree a plus.

    Experience: 1 or more years of experience. Previous experience working with international students, visiting scholars, or employee visas a plus. Higher education experience a plus. Prior responsibility as an officer, designated school official (DSO) or alternate responsible officer (ARO) for a SEVIS visitor program a plus. Notary public for the state of Ohio is a plus.

     

    REQUIRED SKILLS

  • Knowledge of federal, state, local, and university regulations that affect international students, scholars, employees, faculty and their dependents. Knowledge of DOL, DOS, IRS, and USCIS regulations and reporting requirements governing F and J student/scholar/intern visa status. Ability to prepare employment-based NIV visa statuses (e.g., H, TN, and O visas) with oversight.
  • Ability to serve as an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for exchange visitor program and Designated School Official (DSO) for an F-1 nonimmigrant student program. (Must have US Citizenship or lawful permanent residence to meet ARO/DSO reporting requirements ).
  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural skills. Strong interpersonal and customer service skills. Ability to maintain a positive and professional environment; treats others with respect, empathy, and courtesy while performing within stressful situations and handling complex emotional issues.
  • Superior communication skills, written and verbal required; able to timely and accurately communicate information clearly with an educationally, geographically, and ethnically diverse audience. Ability to convey complex information in an easy-to-understand manner understood by the general public. Must have excellent grammar skills for composing a variety of written communication for the university community.
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret and communicate complex regulations. Ability to manage difficult customers, research issues, analyze situations, analyze the implication of decisions, and recommend and/or adopt a course of action to respond to customer needs.
  • Knowledge, appreciation, and sensitivity to cultural differences. Awareness of cultural adjustment issues and remedies. Ability to work with a diverse population and maintain a work environment that is marked by inclusiveness and respect for others. Good problem-solving. Must have excellent judgment, common sense, and be able to make and support decisions. Requires the ability to incorporate creative and innovative approaches to various issues within the university policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Excellent time management skills. Experience working in a fast-paced environment with demanding deadlines. Must prioritize and manage multiple tasks and priorities and complete objectives within difficult time constraints and constant interruptions. Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines is crucial.
  • Organized and detail-oriented. Demonstrated accuracy, thoroughness, and attention to detail.
  • Ability to handle and maintain confidential and/or sensitive information with proper care and discretion.
  • Ability to meet consistent attendance.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team. Demonstrated interpersonal/group relations skills. Ability to interact with colleagues, supervisors, and customers face to face.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office applications (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), Google Suite (Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Sheets) and the internet. Knowledge of Drupal website maintenance and HR information systems (e .g ., PeopleSoft and/or Oracle HR database system) a plus. Experienced with other software applications such as Terra Dotta or Windstar tax treaty software systems a plus.
  • Knowledge of tax treaties and U.S. tax law as it applied to nonresident aliens, nonresident alien tax reporting, and compliance issues a plus.
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    WORKING CONDITIONS

    General office environment. Works around continuous interruptions, including walk-in traffic and phone calls. Frequently works under narrow legal timeframe for task completion; work may include stressful situations regarding foreign worker extensions, maintenance of status, and other federal regulations. Daily walk-in meetings. May require some weekend and evening hours.  Position location: Cleveland, Ohio.  May be eligible for hybrid remote work (up to 2 days remote/week) upon completion of orientation.

    This position is eligible for hybrid work arrangement up to two remote days per week at the discretion of the department. New employees may begin a hybrid schedule upon approval from the supervisor, successful completion of an orientation period and signing the remote work checklist certification form.

    In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity.  Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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    Case Western Reserve University provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities.  Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Equity at 216-368-3066 to request a reasonable accommodation.  Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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