UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.
Under the direction of the Assistant Director of Operations for the International Student & Scholar Servicesin the UMass Amherst International Programs Office, the International Student and Scholar Advisor provides advanced immigration advice and support to international students, scholars and employees who are under UMass Amherst immigration sponsorship, as well as to sponsoring UMass Amherst academic departments and administration. This position is particularly responsible for student employment-based caseloads and provides critical support to the overall mission of the International Programs Office.
Advises UMass Amherst international students, international scholars and employees on policies and procedures related to non-immigrant visa sponsorship. Advises UMass international community on other complex immigration issues including advanced travel advice, visa status of family members, bars to repeat participation, program transfers, extensions, and terminations. Processes and maintains appropriate documentation for obtaining J-1, F-1, and H-1B visa status for international students and scholars and their dependents, as needed. Ensures adherence to UMass Amherst campus, UMass system compliance and Federal immigration guidelines for the sponsorship of non-immigrant visas. Researches, interprets and applies Federal and UMass institutional regulations and policies related to international student, scholar and employee immigration sponsorship.
Serves as liaison with government agencies such as U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (including Citizenship & Immigration Services, Customs & Border Protection and Immigration & Customs Enforcement), to facilitate initial immigration sponsorship and maintenance of status for all international students, scholars and employees under UMass Amherst immigration sponsorship. Serves as liaison and performs outreach to other state and Federal agencies including but not limited to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Administration.
Provides support to the Director and other IPO staff members in the development of internal policies, procedures and business practices related to the UMass Amherst international population and Sunapsis functionalities. Creates, revises and reviews written IPO communications including informational handouts and letters, web pages and social medial postings.
Updates and monitors multiple integrated online systems including Sunapsis, PeopleSoft (SPIRE) and SEVIS RTI to ensure immigration status compliance.
Oversees, participates and presents applicable orientation and cultural activities for international students and scholar clientele employees and visitors to satisfy the U.S. Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor requirements. Coordinates and presents informational seminars and other outreach to campus stakeholders, including hiring and hosting departments, concerning current immigration topics and onboarding procedures.
Attends and participates in professional development activities and meetings of peer international education associations and organizations. Maintains skills, knowledge and best practices of regulatory immigration compliance in order to remain current in the law and regulations impacting international students, scholars, and employees.
Minimum of three to five years of experience of directly related work experience including working in SEVIS* as a Designated School Official and/or Alternate Responsible Officer, and related immigration advising experience working with international students, scholars and employees.
Direct experience working with U.S. immigration regulations, particularly F and J and H-1B regulations.
Familiarity with other fundamental immigration regulations pertaining to Permanent Residence, TN, E-3, O-1, B-1/B-2.
Demonstrated ability to learn and understand ever-changing complex federal, state, and local regulations.
Ability to multitask, meet urgent deadlines, and adapt to changing demands and priorities.
Ability to provide high-level immigration advising in both written and verbal communications.
Excellent customer service skills interpersonal and written communication skills.
Excellent organizational, analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
Ability to work independently as well as contribute and collaborate effectively as a member of a team.
Ability to work efficiently with a highly diverse international clientele, as well as other campus faculty, university administrators, and government officials.
Ability to work some weekends, and nights as needed.
*U.S. federal regulations pertaining to SEVIS require that an Alternate Responsible Officer (J-1) and Designated School Official (F-1) must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Master’s degree strongly preferred. Knowledge of foreign languages a plus.
Knowledge and familiarity of internal UMass systems and programs, institutional policies and procedures; UMass authorization as an institutional Alternate Responsible Officer and Designated School Official with the Department of Homeland Security.