Many school districts suffer from a nationwide teaching shortage and are increasingly turning to foreign nationals to fill open positions.

Federal immigration laws permit certain public school districts to file H-1B petitions throughout the year which has drastically reduced the limitations of hiring and retaining qualified teachers.

In order to qualify as exempt from the H-1B cap, school districts must have entered into a formal written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher education. This is often in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.

How Public School Districts can be exempt from the annual numerical H-1B cap/quota.

In order to qualify as a Cap Exempt Organization you must be able to present evidence that the “nonprofit entity (School District) has entered into a formal written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher education that establishes an active working relationship between the nonprofit entity and the institution of higher education for the purposes of research or education, and a fundamental activity of the nonprofit entity is to directly contribute to the research or education mission of the institution of higher education.”

The following are the documents USCIS requires as evidence of the affiliated program to be submitted with the H-1B petition:

– A copy of the affiliation agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by an authorized official of both the school district and the institution of higher learning.

– Documentation showing an active working relationship between the nonprofit entity and the institution of higher education for the purposes of research or education, and a fundamental activity of the nonprofit entity is to directly contribute to the research or education mission of the institution of higher education.

Dual Enrollment Agreements between districts and a college or university, under which students may obtain college and high school credit for taking specific courses, typically meet the affiliation agreement requirement.

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