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Business Immigration: The Basics of the J-1 Visa Trainee Program

Many multinational businesses today have found that there are significant benefits to bringing employees from outside of the United States in for training. In addition to allowing them to have one centralized training hub for the entire company, it also helps to expose these foreign employees to the US culture and business practices. This can be very helpful for building a more cohesive work environment, despite the fact that they will be working thousands of miles apart in the future.

If this is a program that your business has implemented, or is considering implementing, you will need to make sure you use the J-1 Visa properly to streamline the process, and avoid any unnecessary legal problems for you or the employees.

Who Is Eligible?

The first thing you need to consider is whether or not your employees will be eligible for this type of program. There are some fairly strict limitations on what types of employees can qualify. Take a moment to review these requirements:

  • The trainee must be a foreign national.
  • They must hold a degree or professional certificate. This should come from a foreign post-secondary school or other institution.
  • They must have a minimum of one year of related work experience outside the US.
  • Those who want this type of Visa must speak English, and be able to prove it by passing a recognized English language test (TOEFL, Cambridge).
  • They must be at least 20 years old.
  • They cannot have used the J-1 Visa at any time in the past two years.

Length of Training

The J-1 Visa trainee program is limited to a maximum of 18 months for most industries. In agriculture and hospitality programs, however, there is a limit to 12 months of training. It is important to keep in mind that this is a fairly short term type of Visa, and is not intended for bringing in employees to complete significant amounts of work, although they can perform some job duties as part of their overall training program.

There are many benefits for both the individual and the company when using the J-1 program. If it is something you are considering, please contact me today to learn more about this process and how you can get it started for your organization.