International and Postdoctoral Services Office newsletter for department managers.
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IPSO Facto
July 2020
In this issue: 

IPSO to go live with Sunapsis in Fall 2020

We are planning to go live with Sunapsis - our new international case management system - in October. 

After Sunapsis is live, department managers will access the online portal, known as "AU International,"  to request J-1, H-1B, and permanent residency processing. We will provide training as we get closer to the go-live date. Thank you to the managers who have taken time to test e-forms for us! 
The AU International (Sunapsis) login page.

IPSO still taking precautionary measures due to COVID-19

Even though all IPSO staff are working in the office full-time again, we are still taking precautionary measures due to COVID-19. We are reducing in-person meetings as much as possible. Whenever possible we will communicate with you via email, phone, or Teams, and use Box folders for document exchange. Should original documents be required, we will arrange for you to either drop off or pick up the documents in our office at specific times.

New prevailing wages released for FY21

On July 1, the Department of Labor released the new prevailing wages for FY21.
Of note, the prevailing wage for postdoctoral fellows has risen to $44,824, an increase of  $603 over last year's $44,221. The prevailing wage for research associates is now $39,541, an increase of $291 over last year’s $39,250.
Department managers, please take note that H-1B sponsored employees must be paid the higher of the actual wage (average paid to comparable employees) or the prevailing wage. In most cases, the actual wage is the higher of the two.

Department managers: Compliance is your responsibility

USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Labor are all conducting site audits with increasing regularity. Failure to report changes to the employment circumstances of H-1B employees could result in fines and loss of the H-1B program for Augusta University. Department managers, faculty supervisors and sponsored employees are all reminded at several points in the H-1B sponsorship process that H-1B status for employees is only valid for the employment as it has been reported to USCIS and the Department of Labor. Any proposed change to the conditions of employment must be reported BEFOREHAND to IPSO using the H-1B Change of Duties Form.

H-1B processing times slow to a crawl

With the resumption of premium processing, normal processing times for H-1B cases have once again slowed to a range of 14-18 months. For the foreseeable future, department managers should expect premium processing to be necessary for almost all cases.

Reminder: Minimum funding amount for J Exchange Visitors to increase

Effective September 1, 2020, for the first time in over a decade, the AU J program minimum funding amount will increase to $27,000 per year. Beginning with this increase and going forward, the minimum support amount for a J EV in any category will align to match the Graduate Research Assistant stipend amount set annually by The Graduate School at Augusta University. The effective date for the future adjustments will be September 1 each year.
 (Visa Type)
 J Exchange Visitor Program Minimum Funding
 Current  Effective
 September 1, 2020
 Per year  Per month  Per year  Per month
 J-1 Exchange Visitor   $ 23,660  $ 1,972  $ 27,000  $ 2,250
 J-2 spouse  $ 6,000  $ 500  $ 6,000  $ 500
 Each J-2 child
 (under 21 years old)
 $ 2,400  $ 200  $ 2,400  $ 200
The new minimum funding amount will be required for J EV requests for initials (new or transfer in to Augusta University) and extensions completed on or after September 1, 2020.
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