CFGI Quoted – “What Employers Need to Know About the J-1 Visa for Interns and Trainees”


“The Trump administration has indicated that it may eliminate the trainee and internship categories under the J-1 visa or impose new requirements on employers using the program.

“While the fate of the visa is still in flux, this article outlines a few basic things about the program...employers should know. 

“…About 300,000 foreign visitors from 200 countries travel to the Unites States to study and work every year via the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. About 25,300 came as interns and 10,700 as trainees in 2016. It's ostensibly a public diplomacy program meant to facilitate cultural exchange between the United States and other nations, but certain categories such as intern and trainee make it an attractive option for employers.  

“‘The J-1 program has become a critical piece in the mobility portfolios for multinational employers to be able to train their foreign talent,’ said Mike Jackson, manager of exchange visitor programs at the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI)…‘It not only allows foreign employees to gain new skills but fosters collaboration with their U.S. co-workers, which can last long after the program ends.’

“J-1 trainees and interns also help build the employer's brand abroad, said Jennifer Clinton, president and CEO of Cultural Vistas…

“…The flexibility of the J-1 compared with other employment visa categories also makes it an enticing option for employers… The application process is also less intensive than for other popular employment visas and doesn't require completing and submitting a labor condition application or immigration petition. Spouses and dependents may join a J-1 visa holder and, in most cases, are also eligible to apply for work authorization after arrival.

“…To access J-1 trainees or interns, an employer must either become a State Department-designated sponsor as some large employers…have done, or work with a sponsoring organization like…CFGI.

“…J-1 training and internship programs ‘must not be used as substitutes for ordinary employment or work purposes; nor may they be used under any circumstances to displace American workers,’ according to the Department of State. These programs are also not designed to allow for cheap labor. The treatment and compensation of all J-1 visa holders must be comparable to U.S. workers in respective positions and must meet all federal and state wage and labor laws.

“This is where sponsoring organizations like CFGI…play a critical role.”

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