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Exchange Visitors

342,639 visas issued in 2018
11% of J-1 visas originate in China
The J-1 nonimmigrant visa is billed as an educational and cultural exchange visitor program, but is routinely used as a temporary work visa.
Year Created
Promote international understanding
Department of State (DOS) 
Stated Purpose
Managing Agency
The J-1 umbrella includes 14 distinct categories.
Data collected
FY 2015
FY 2016
FY 2017
FY 2018
Sources: See U.S. Department of State, Table XVI(B) Nonimmigrant Visas Issued by Classification (Including Border Crossing Cards) Fiscal Years 2015-2019, available at 2015); U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Table 25 Nonimmigrant Admissions by Class of Admission: FYs 2009-2018, available at (November 2019).
Despite being used as a work visa, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) plays no role in regulating the J-1 program other than to enforce the standard federal wage and hour laws that apply to the general workforce. 
At least six of the 14 J-1 categories present situations where J-1 workers are vulnerable: summer work travel, camp counselors, trainees, and interns, au pairs, and teachers
DOS data shows that these six categories make up just over half of all total J-1 visas issued.
Geographic isolation, employment in private homes or in low-wage, unskilled industries, and lax worker protections and oversight all contribute to J-1 worker vulnerability to exploitation.
Data collected
FY 2015
FY 2016
FY 2017
FY 2018
The J-1 exchange visitor program was not designed to import foreign labor and should be redesigned to accommodate this reality. 
Open jobs to U.S. workers:
The J-1 exchange visitor program regulations do not have a system in place to test the labor market for jobs where J-1 workers are employed. Currently, there is no requirement to advertise open jobs or recruit U.S. workers.
End employer-based visas:
As with most other nonimmigrant visas that authorize work in the U.S., J-1 exchange visitors are vulnerable to the extent that their lawful immigration status is tied to a job placement. An individual who has paid money to come to the United States to work has a strong incentive to stick with an exploitative situation. 
Extra text here.  

Last updated Nov. 2015


Other Visa Programs:

H-2A    |    H-2B    |    H-1B    |    J-1    |    L-1    |    A-3/G-5    |    F-1    |    B-1

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