Thursday, January 31, 2019

ISSS Update

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University of Minnesota Driven to Discover
International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)

In This Update


General Announcements

  1. OHR Operations - Updates for Foreign National Employees
  2. Recent Regulatory Changes Bring Attention to Need for Supervisors to Review Limits for F-1 and J-1 Students
  3. How to Hire UMN International Students
  4. Agreement Reached for Temporary End to Government ShutdownGovernment Shutdown
  5. ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series

H-1B Announcements

  1. ISSS No Longer Processing O-1 extensions
  2. Employee ID Will Be Required for H-1B/E-3 Processing
  3. New Employment Visa Case Assistant (Student Worker)

J-1 Announcements

  1. New J Visa Assistant

PR Announcements

  1. Visa Bulletin Workshop - Thursday, March 7

General ISSS Announcements


1. OHR Operations - Updates for Foreign National Employees

On January 15, OHR Operations sent an email regarding the new I-9 process for foreign national employees. This email contains important information about I-9 processes, ISSS check-in requirements, and other required steps for new F-1 and J-1 Foreign National Employees. Please read the message here if you did not receive the email.

2. Recent Regulatory Changes Bring Attention to Need for Supervisors to Review Limits for F-1 and J-1 Students

At the beginning of the semester, it’s important for supervisors to understand the limitations international students in F1 and J-1 visa status have on employment in the U.S.  While the rules regarding employment for F-1 students and J-1 studentshave not changed, recent regulatory changes have impacted the severity of the repercussions for students who do not follow the F-1 and J-1 visa rules regarding work eligibility.
ISSS continues to reach out to students to make sure that they understand what is permitted in their visa status. It is also important, however, that departments help by encouraging supervisors to review and follow  these rules. Please contact ISSS if you have any questions.

3. How to Hire UMN International Students

At the University of Minnesota, we encourage hiring units to seek out the talent our UMN international students have to offer. Our recent webinar offers tips to employers, including UMN departments, on how easy it is to diversify your workforce with international candidates. The recording is less than 30 minutes long and can be watched in brief, individual segments.

4. Agreement Reached for Temporary End to Government Shutdown

An agreement was reached on Friday to allow the federal government to temporarily reopen while budget negotiations occur. While most immigration functions had not been affected due to the shutdown, we do not know whether there may be delays as operations resume. Additionally, as the current agreement will only allow the government to be open for three weeks, it is possible that there may be another government shutdown if an agreement cannot be reached.
Some media outlets have reported that grant funds from NIH and other government agencies were not made available during the shutdown. It is important to note that H-1B/E-3 employees must continue to be paid per the terms of their most recent petition, as agreed to in the employer-signed certification statement.

5. Register for the ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series

ISSS is pleased to announce the ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series for Spring 2019. The series includes sessions focused on intercultural competency and skills development as well as “Culture In-Depth” sessions discussing the unique practices, customs, and values of some of the largest international student populations on our campus.   The workshops help UMN staff members gain greater cultural self-awareness, an understanding of the contributions of international students, and communication skills to improve interactions and relationships with international students, staff, and faculty. The full descriptions for each session, including a list of learning outcomes, can be found on the ISSS website, and registration is now open on Training Hub.

H-1B Announcements


1. ISSS No Longer Processing O-1 extensions

Effective October 2018, ISSS is no longer processing O-1 extension petitions. Departments wishing to support O-1 employment must work with outside counsel, with prior approval from the Office of General Counsel.

2. Employee ID Will Be Required for H-1B/E-3 Processing

ISSS will transition to a new software program during 2019 to handle scholar and employment-based visa applications. With this transition, an Employee ID number will need to be created at the time the H-1B/E-3 request is initiated. We have updated our current intake forms to request the Employee ID at the first stage of the process. Providing this ID currently remains optional at the point of the initial request, but it will become required in the near future.

3. New Employment Visa Case Assistant (Student Worker)

We are pleased to announce that Pa Kou Lee Her has been hired as an Employment Visa Case Assistant (student worker). She has replaced Miriam Diaz, who left ISSS in December 2018. Pa Kou’s contact information can be found here.

J-1 Announcements


1. New J Visa Assistant

There have been some staff changes at ISSS over the past semester. Brooke transitioned to another role at ISSS last summer. We are happy to announce that Ruibi Wang has been hired as the new J Visa Assistant. We are confident that Ruibi will provide you with the level of service you expect from ISSS. When you submit initial DS-2019 applications to ISSS, Ruibi will be in touch if anything is missing. You can reach her at isssjast@umn.edu.

PR Announcements


1. Visa Bulletin Workshop - Thursday, March 7

ISSS will host a Visa Bulletin Workshop on Thursday, March 7 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. at 101 University International Center (317 17th Avenue SE). This workshop will include an explanation of the Department of State Visa Bulletin, how to read and use the Visa Bulletin, and what impact this has on the backlog of permanent residence applications. Please RSVP to attend this session. If you have questions, please contact Marissa Hill-Dongre (hill0707@umn.edu).