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July 15, 2008, Volume 55, No. 1

In an effort to serve the Penn community more efficiently and effectively, we are introducing a new policy under which outside immigration counsel will be available to process certain employment-based permanent residency and O-1 applications. This policy will take effect August 15, 2008.

Please share this guidance with prospective and current employees and other staff. It is our hope that this clarified process will further improve processing times and communication among the stakeholders. Please do not hesitate to contact ISSS should you have any questions regarding this new Penn policy.  

—Rodolfo R. Altamirano, Director, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)
—Wendy S. White, Senior Associate Vice President and General Counsel, Office of General Counsel (OGC)

Policy on the Use of Outside Immigration Counsel for
Certain Employment-Based Permanent Residency and O-1 Applications

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) would like to maintain a level of service that is efficient and is of high quality. ISSS would also like to provide regular education and training on immigration matters to hiring units. It is important to note that the volume of immigration applications has increased in recent years. Therefore, ISSS and the Office of General Counsel (OGC) have concluded that it would be beneficial to provide Penn departments with options for handling certain employment-based permanent residency and O-1 applications.

So that we may continue to meet departmental expectations and maintain excellent quality of service, ISSS and OGC are recommending the following firms (in alphabetical order) to provide certain types of immigration services as a complement to the services of ISSS: Blank Rome, LLP ; Goldblum and Hess, LLP; Klasko, Rulon, Stock and Seltzer, LLP.

Only above-mentioned firms will be able to represent the University in certain immigration proceedings, unless determined otherwise by ISSS or OGC. 

The retained outside counsel will be able to assist the Penn departments with the following types of immigration cases:

• Permanent residency applications which are not processed by ISSS staff or cannot be processed due to time constraints

• O-1 Person of Extraordinary Ability petitions

ISSS will continue to process permanent residency applications for teaching faculty members. ISSS will be your first stop for any PR and O-1 requests that will be filed on behalf of Penn. This includes those cases handled by outside legal counsel in an effort to maintain the quality and accuracy of applications.

Since ISSS has expertise in immigration and related institutional matters, ISSS will screen the applications prepared by the authorized outside counsel to make sure that each application accurately represents the University. Only ISSS is authorized to sign any immigration-related applications representing Penn. 

Information Sessions

As a follow-up to this, ISSS will conduct two information sessions for faculty/principal investigators and business administrators on July 29 and July 31, in the Reunion Auditorium, John Morgan Building 1-3 p.m. to:

• clarify the process related to employment-based applications and the
permanent residency process

• delineate the roles and responsibilities of ISSS, outside counsel and hiring departments in relation to the application process

• share practical resources to assist you in the whole immigration process.

Almanac - July 15, 2008, Volume 55, No. 1