August 18, 2009

J-1 English Requirement

We know that it can be tricky to objectively measure English language proficiency. It is possible that your J-1 candidate has been watching Hollywood movies in English all her life and speaks clearly with a spot-on American accent; yet has never taken an official English course. How do you prove that your candidate is proficient in English and able to function daily in his or her J-1 program?

We once accepted English language tests and limited them to the most well-known and trusted (TOEFL and TOEIC etc.), but we found that we were still constantly trying to keep up with new testing formats and scoring. Frankly, it was an administrative burden and did not clearly answer the question, does this candidate have the English language ability to complete the J-1 program successfully?

So, we did away with the English tests and instead encourage J-1 candidates to produce letters from English professors that prove their English proficiency from a professional's perspective. We also accept English language evaluations from host companies that have had first-hand contact with their J-1 candidates through phone and email. The host company knows what skill level is needed to complete their program successfully and is thus a great judge.

And if your candidate happens to be from somewhere like Australia, the UK, or South Africa and is a native speaker, then congratulations, you can forget about proving English language proficiency ;)