J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
As employers who have the privilege of hosting J-1 Exchange visitors, IAAPA members reaffirm their understanding of the requirements of the exchange visitor program, as well as its primary purpose of cultural exchange and public diplomacy. These Best Practices are meant to honor the spirit of the exchange visitor program and ensure compliance with the Department of State (DOS) regulations.
- The Exchange Visitor Program provides cultural opportunities by supplementing employers’ seasonal domestic workforce with exchange visitors. It is incumbent upon employers to make best efforts to widely recruit American seasonal workers prior to hosting exchange visitors.
- Foster the health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors.
- Comply with all Exchange Visitor Program regulations.
- Honor the spirit of the exchange visitor program by incorporating cultural exchange into general business operations including providing international participants the opportunity to share their culture; allowing foreign and domestic staff to work side-by-side; allowing Exchange Visitor Program staff reasonable time off to sightsee and travel; and to try and organize excursions and events that meet these goals.
- Provide advance communication with exchange visitors to promote their understanding of all employment parameters, such as hours, compensation, and work conditions; and to promote a better understanding of the cultural norms in the American workplace.
- Have advance communication with State Department sponsors, about issues, including but not limited to: staffing needs, employment parameters, students' arrival and early departures, emergencies, etc.
- Hire an exchange visitor only for seasonal or temporary positions, for a term of no more than four months.
- Do not place exchange visitors in jobs listed by DOS as prohibited and do not schedule SWT exchange visitors for shifts falling primarily between the hours of 10pm-6am.
- Provide the same pay and benefits to exchange visitors as those offered to their similarly qualified American counterparts working in the same or similar positions.
- Provide exchange visitors with Workers’ Compensation Insurance unless exempt from this requirement by state law.
- Ensure exchange visitors have access to 24-hour emergency assistance including, but not necessarily limited to, sponsors emergency hotline.