July 08, 2009

6 Things HR Managers Should Know About J-1 Intern and Trainee Programs

I admittedly have a bias towards this particular visa but I truly think that J-1 Intern and Trainee Programs are great options for many companies seeking to attract top talent from around the globe or provide professional development for an international workforce.

Before implementing a J-1 program there are 6 things you should consider.

  1. High Productivity - J-1 trainee and intern participants are more productive than American-born workers according to a recent study released in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Your program plan should be structured and challenging so that highly-qualified participants will excel in their traineeship or internship.

  2. Flexible Visa Process - A J-1 visa can be issued at any time during the year for the start date of your choosing.

  3. Fast - The J-1 Visa does not require that you engage in a lengthy petitioning process prior to the visa application and the whole process from applying for sponsorship to receiving the J-1 can take as little as a month. Communicate with your sponsor to be clear on what is expected and expedite the sponsorship approval process.

  4. Cultural Exchange - The purpose of the J-1 visa is to facilitate cultural and educational exchange. As a result, participants are expected to return abroad at the completion of the program. The maximum duration for a J-1 intern program is 12 months and 18 months for a J-1 trainee program. Make sure that your program plans fit into these time frames.

  5. Participant Criteria - Interns must be currently enrolled in or recent graduates of a foreign university. Trainees must have a degree from a foreign university and at least one year of related experience from outside the U.S. or 5 years of related experience from outside the U.S. Before starting a program you should be familiar with the qualifications of your candidates and the criteria they must meet for J-1 Intern and Trainee programs.

  6. Two-year home residency rule - Some J-1 participants are subject to the two-year home residency rule and are required to return to their home country upon completion of a J-1 program for a minimum of two years before they are able to return to the U.S. on an H, L or K visa or to apply for permanent resident status. Check and see if your candidates may be subject to this rule. Please click here for more information.