J-1

Exchange Visitors

342,639 visas issued in 2018
The J-1 nonimmigrant visa is billed as an educational and cultural exchange visitor program, but is routinely used as a temporary work visa.
AT A GLANCE
Year Created
1961
Promote international understanding
Department of State (DOS) 
Stated Purpose
Managing Agency
The J-1 umbrella includes 14 distinct categories.
Au Pair
Camp Counselor
College & University Students
Government Visitors
International Visitors
Physicians
Professors & Research Scholars
High School Students
Short Term Scholars
Specialists
Summer Work Travel
Teachers
Interns
Trainees
J-1 NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
2019 TOP 10 DESTINATION SITES FOR J-1 VISA HOLDERS
TOP SENDING COUNTRIES: J-1 VISAS ISSUED
J-1 VISAS
ISSUED BY SUBCATEGORY
COMPARISON OF J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM
LABOR ABUSE
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.
DOCUMENTED CASES OF ABUSE

1/3
[STILL MISSING: Reasons why an employer may choose to hire J-1 workers]
RECOMMENDATIONS
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. 
[STILL MISSING: Additional Resources]
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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