Among the slew of immigration-related news we’ve seen this year, a less well-known visa has also had a moment in the spotlight.
The Wall Street Journal reported in August that the Trump administration was considering scrapping the J-1 visa, a non-immigrant categorization with a focus on cultural exchange. The J-1 visa is what helps bring au pairs, scholars, students and other temporary workers into the United States, aiding companies and individuals looking to hire foreign talent.
Though the main focus of this visa is to provide a means to cultural exchange, there is so much more it can provide. Despite the recent criticism by the current administration, the J-1 visa does benefit companies and employees alike in a variety of different, and often unexplored, ways, and often doesn’t encroach on American jobs.
In our most recent webinar, Understanding the Basics of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, Envoy teamed up with Cultural Vistas to about what J-1 visas actually are, why we should be considering them, and how to get access.
What is the J-1 exactly?
The J-1 visa differs from some of the most popular U.S. employment visa categories since it’s authorized by the Department of State and not USCIS. In many ways, the J-1 is more flexible than other categorizations in its approach, requirements and boundaries.
For example, there is no cap on the total number of J-1 visas administered each year, as there is for the H-1B and other popular visas. It’s also open to many different occupations and levels of talent, rather than specific specializations or education levels. No LCA or petition is required to sponsor a J-1 visa, and the application process is far less intensive than for other popular employment visas.
The J-1 visa is not just for au pairs; it’s your ticket to training. Who’s being trained? It could be a new hire, an experienced professional, and even a client. You can use this to conduct practical, hands-on training for any level of worker. Rather than classroom training, your J-1 intern can participate in day-to-day real-world operations in order to learn or exchange important cultural knowledge.
What are some of the benefits of the J-1 visa for organizations?
Some of the most important benefits for companies are also benefits for the trainees as well, making this an attractive visa for appropriate candidates and sponsors. You can use the J-1 as a tool for talent development in the U.S., as a way to gain or share local knowledge and perspective, to build your organization’s diversity, as an onboarding tool for new overseas hires, to help roll out new technology or products, in joint ventures, and more.
And the size of your organization doesn’t matter, since the J-1 can benefit small companies with 10 employees all the way up to to multinational organizations.