1.8 Employment of Foreign Nationals

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MIT must comply with federal regulations regarding the employment of foreign nationals (non-United States citizens and non-permanent residents). Each foreign national employed or on academic appointment at MIT must either have an immigration status that permits the affiliation or have been granted appropriate permission by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

1.8.1 Role of the International Scholars Office

Hiring foreign nationals and bringing them to MIT in a timely manner requires specialized attention and advice. The International Scholars Office (ISO) has been designated by the Institute to handle applications and information regarding visas for foreign academic staff and sponsored research staff. The International Students Office offers similar services for international students.

The International Scholars Office is MIT's liaison with immigration authorities. The ISO is authorized by the US Department of State to offer J-1 visa sponsorship in specific categories only. The ISO is the only authorized petitioner to USCIS for H-1B, E-3, TN, O-1 visas, and permanent residency based on MIT employment. Such applications may not be filed by attorneys on behalf of MIT. Updated information is maintained at the ISO website.

1.8.2 Appointments and Reporting

Inquiries and requests for appointment and visa sponsorship should be channeled through the department, lab or center’s primary liaison to the ISO, typically the Personnel Administrator or Administrative Officer. Departmental liaisons are urged to contact the ISO as many months as possible in advance of the expected arrival of any international scholar. Occasionally, despite the ISO's best efforts, sponsorship of a particular scholar is not possible, or an appointment start date must be delayed to allow for government agency processing of visa documents.

Departments, laboratories and centers must report the arrival of non-immigrant international scholars to the International Scholars Office, regardless of the scholars’ visa types and sponsors. They must also report the departure or other termination of the non-immigrant international scholar to the ISO, including notifying if a scholar completes his/her appointment earlier than expected.

Scholars are required to check in with the ISO upon arrival at MIT, and must bring their passports and visa documents to do so. Departments should ensure that scholars know this requirement to check in.

1.8.3 Nonimmigrant Visa Categories Categories Used for Research and Teaching

The nonimmigrant visa categories most commonly used for MIT research and teaching activities are:

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar)
  •  H-1B Visa for Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations
  •  B-1 (or WB) Visitor for Business
  •  F-1 and J-1 Students on Practical or Academic Training
  • TN Visa for Professionals who are nationals of Canada and Mexico
  • O-1 Visa for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
  • E-3 visa for Australian nationals who are Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations;

Information about these categories, including qualifications, application procedures, limitations, and payment for scholars in these categories, is available at the ISO website. Categories Not Eligible for Research and Teaching

Individuals in the following nonimmigrant categories, among others, are not eligible for an MIT appointment, employment, or payment, unless that individual  obtains a different classification.

  • B-2 (or WT) Visitor for Pleasure (Tourist)
  • F-2 Spouse or children of F-1 students
  • H-4 Spouse or children of H-1B, H-2, or H-3
  • TD Spouse or children of TN
  • O-3 Spouse or children of O-1 Non-Academic, Non-Research Staff and Others

MIT does not sponsor the following individuals for employment-based visas nor for exchange visitor visas: students; technical, administrative, library, or support staff members; individuals with inadequate funding, insurance, or credentials; or those whose particular visa history precludes sponsorship.

1.8.4 Related Human Resources Policies

MIT's Equal Employment Opportunity Policy (Section 1.1) states that MIT is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment and does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.