Working independently with limited supervision, the Director for Visa and Immigration Services oversees the university’s Visa and Immigration Services Office in ensuring proper processing of immigration documentation for over 3,000 non-immigrant students, faculty, staff, and scholars at Case Western Reserve University and their dependents, as well as compliance with federal immigration regulations for the international community. Serves as the Primary Designated School Official and the Responsible Officer for the university. Interfaces with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and other governmental agencies. The director oversees the Visa and Immigration Services Office’s mission, services, mission continuity, goals, and priorities and oversees the Visa and Immigration Services team which provides advising services on a broad range of immigration, academic, personal, financial, health, social, and cultural concerns by providing guidance and expert knowledge concerning visa sponsorship options, federal and state regulation compliance, and interpretation of university policies on a varied range of complex employee immigration issues.
Immigration Compliance (Student, Faculty, Staff, and Scholars) (55%)
- Establish, review, and communicate policies, systems, and internal procedures for the area, including the management of all student- and employment-based immigration processing (e.g., F-1, CPT, OPT, J-1, H-1B, TN, O-1, etc.). Supervise issuance and integrity of I-20 forms, updating SEVIS. Assist preparation of student- and employment-based immigration as needed. Review Curriculum Practice Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM-OPT extension applications and issue 1-20s accordingly. Ensure visa processing time meets the department’s key performance indicators. (15%)
- Serve as the Responsible Officer (RO) for the university’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and as the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) and Responsible Officer for Case Western Reserve University for the university’s F-1 visa program. Provide training, support, and oversight of the CWRU Designated School Official (DSO) and Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) team. Accountable for federal reporting by maintaining and updated student information in the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), oversight of the submission of the re-designation certification of the J-program biennially, Annual Recertification, Annual Report, and other government reports. (15%)
- Protect the interests of Case Western Reserve University and its international populations by remaining knowledgeable about immigration issues and advising international population and university personnel according to regulations. Ensure university compliance with all requirements of SEVIS and other regulations of the Department of Homeland Security having to do with various non-immigrant visa status. Serve as a resource to the university international community regarding trends in international education, immigration and visa policies/practices/best practices, cultural differences, social norms, and customs. (15%)
- Collaborate with Admissions Office, Graduate Studies, professional schools, Undergraduate Studies, and Student Affairs to monitor and advise international students regarding their registration and progress toward their educational objectives, in particular those related to maintaining legal status compliance. Supervise interactions with various campus entities including international students about their rights and obligations under immigration law. Collaborate closely with academic departments, administrator, and the Employment Office to secure visa documentation and monitor and advise international populations regarding requirements such as social security cards and health insurance, onboarding, and progress toward their career/research objectives, including lawful permanent residents. (10%)
- International Tax Treaty Benefits: Oversee and provide guidance to the Visa and Immigration Services team in tax treaty benefits analysis pursuant to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines. Ensure collection of immigration documents and forms from the foreign national to determine record status, tax treaty status, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax status, and immigration status. Ensure foreign employees, scholars, faculty, and students are aware of tax treaties, and that appropriate taxes are being deducted according to IRS guidelines. Ensure the year-end tax treaty renewal compliance is completed on an annual basis. Audit bi-monthly payroll reports for errors and proper taxing of foreign workforce with respect to home country tax benefits when the Manager is out of the office. Communicate with the Payroll Office and [U]Tech on payroll and Windstar issues. Communicate with the Payroll Office Tax Director as necessary. Collaborate with the office of Student Employment, Human Resources, and the Graduate Student Payroll office to confirm international people’s tax status and eligibility to work on campus. (10%)
- Strategic Leadership and University Partnerships: Ultimate responsibility for the ongoing assessment (and appropriate adjustment) of Visa and Immigration Services, programs, and general office operations. Advise, consult, and serve as a member of the Human Resources leadership team in the development and execution of short-term and long-range goals, plans, and budgets based on broad university goals. Collaborate with university leadership and other staff to develop best practices, policy development, guiding principles, strategies, and plans for the international community. Develop internal controls to mitigate risk and maintain a current business continuity plan to ensure immigration processes remain in status. Provide strategic planning, advice, and guidance within the university on immigration-related options, requirements, policies, and procedures; provide information and clarification about immigration services to faculty and administration. Leverage data to improve efficiencies. Compile and analyze immigration data to track employee visas and create detailed statistical reports, including quarterly and annual reports, for university leadership. Review approval rates of visas by USCIS and visa stamp issuance approval rates. Leverage data to develop efficiencies. Ensure maximum utilization of the visa and tax treaty software programs. Recommend new options and look for areas where efforts can be streamlined and minimized. Responsible for the ongoing assessment (and appropriate adjustment) of Visa and Immigration Services, programs and general office operations. (10%)
- Supervision: Build and maintain a strong Visa and Immigration Services team through effective recruiting, training, coaching, evaluation, team building, and succession planning. Responsible for the hiring, supervision, development, and timely annual performance review of the Visa and Immigration Services staff. Provide informed and involved leadership to the Visa and Immigration Services staff to increase their knowledge and promote their professional development in the fields of immigration and international education. Prepare performance reviews and staff development plans for each member. Assess the skills and skill levels necessary to achieve Visa and Immigration Services work objectives. Audit all work of the Visa and Immigration Services team for compliance with university and federal guidelines. Provide training and guidance on processes and systems to the Visa and Immigration Services team members. Develop and maintain Internal Procedures for the Visa and Immigration Services team. Ensure customer service standards are being met by the Visa and Immigration Services team. Direct content for the Visa and Immigration Services website and oversee the Manager and Visa and Immigration Services team in maintaining accurate and up-to-date content on the Immigration website. Develop and maintain internal procedures and succession plans for the Visa and Immigration Services team. (10%)
- International Student and Scholar Support and University Training: Provide advice and guidance within the university on immigration-related options, requirements, policies, and procedures; provide information and clarification about immigration services and options to students, faculty, staff, scholars, and administrators. Oversee the Manager in designing and delivering immigration and compliance education and training. Designs and delivers training to students and departments as necessary. Represent the Visa and Immigration Services Office and international community’s interests on various university committees, task forces, and special projects as assigned. (10%)
- Fiscal Management: Responsible for the overall management of the Visa and Immigration Services Office budget. Assure the expense reconciliation is conducted regularly within the Visa and Immigration Services Office to monitor budget and make adjustments as needed. Review all expenditures in relation to program mission and objectives. Coordinate with Human Resources on the preparation of adjustments and supporting documentation for the fiscal year close. Ensure that budgetary records are properly maintained, and forecasting is conducted to anticipate needs and avoid problems. (5%)
Must have US 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.
- Provide feedback and recommendations annually on immigration policies and procedures. (>1%)
- Participate in training sessions, monthly staff meetings, Human Resources and Visa and Immigration Services 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%)
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.
Department: Frequent daily contact with the Visa and Immigration Services staff. Regular contact with Human Resources (HR) leadership, HR Service Center, HR Records Office, and HR Employment Office. Frequent contact with other Human Resources staff.
University: Daily contact with various university offices, including the Office of General Counsel, Office of Student Affairs (e.g., attending student affairs directors’ meetings and participating in other student affairs committees and events, when referring a student for services (such as counseling, career series, health services, or planning a jointly sponsored program), the Admissions Office, Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies, Student Employment, the University Registrar’s Office, the Payroll Office, the Graduate Payroll Office, the Office of PostDoctoral Affairs, [U]Tech (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 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 travel, visa maintenance. Daily contact with applicants and newly admitted students prior to arrival.
Directly supervisor the Visa and Immigration Services Assistant Director, Business Systems Analyst, others. Ultimate supervision of all Visa and Immigration Services staff.
Must have U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent residence for the purpose of SEVIS/the university’s Exchange Visitor Program to meet RO/ ARO/ PDSO/ DSO reporting requirements.
Experience: 7+ years of experience working with international populations on high-volume visa petition preparation, preferably both student and employment-based (e.g., F-1s, OPT, J-1s, H-1Bs, TNs, Os, etc.) or 4+ years of experience working with international populations on high-volume visa petition preparation, preferably both student and employment-based (e.g., F-1s, OPT, J-1s, H-1Bs, TNs, Os, etc.) and a JD. Prior work with student immigration populations preferred. Prior responsibility as an officer, designated school official (DSO) or alternate responsible officer (ARO) for a SEVIS visitor program required. Notary public for the state of Ohio is a plus. Higher ed experience a plus.
Education: Bachelor’s degree required. Degree in student personnel, business, higher education administration, international relations, homeland security, law, or related field preferred. Master’s degree or JD preferred.
- Demonstrated expert knowledge of laws and regulatory requirements related to immigration and employment-based immigration petitions including DOL, DOS, IRS, and USCIS regulations governing F and J student/scholar/intern visa status, and employment-based NIV visa statuses (e.g., H, TN, and O visas). Prior experience as a Responsible Officer (RO) or alternative responsible officer (ARO) for an exchange visitor program and experience as a 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Excellent time management skills. Proven 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. Ability to work with minimum supervision and to work simultaneously on several tasks.
- Self-motivated and strong initiative. Must anticipate next steps, look for ways to improve procedures, and improve efficiencies and quality. Good problem-solving and organizational skills. Must have excellent judgment, common sense, and be able to make and support decisions. Ability to manage difficult customers, research issues, analyze situations, analyze the implication of decisions, and adopt a course of action to respond to customer needs, with or without precedent. Requires the ability to incorporate creative and innovative approaches to various issues within the university policies, procedures, and practices.
- Highly organized and extremely detail oriented. Demonstrated accuracy, thoroughness, and attention to detail. Excellent 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. Ability to handle and maintain confidential and/or sensitive information with proper care and discretion. 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.
- Demonstrated experience supervising staff.
- Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office applications (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), expert knowledge of Microsoft Excel. Proficient with Google Mail and Google Docs and the internet. Knowledge of Drupal website maintenance and HR information systems (e.g., PeopleSoft and/or Oracle HR database system) preferred. Experienced with other software applications such as Terra Dotta or Windstar a plus.
- Knowledge of ERP financial software, PeopleSoft database query tools, and Windstar/Banner 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 are highly desirable.
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 (2 days remote/week) upon completion of orientation.