The J-1 visa was enacted in 1961 at the height of the Cold War “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange.”
Today, students work at companies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last year, 7,035 foreigners came to New Jersey under a J-1 visa, consistently placing New Jersey in the Top 10 in participation. This includes teachers, practicing physicians, au pairs and the traveling students who scoop ice cream for tourists on boardwalks.
New Jersey was third last year. California and New York topped the list. Nebraska had the fewest participants at 67 student workers.
The U.S. State Department enacted numerous changes this year to protect both foreign and American workers from exploitation.
To participate, employers must show:
- Foreign workers are not displacing U.S. workers at participating work sites.
- They have had no layoffs in the previous four months.
- They have no employees on strike or lockout.
- Students who work will have opportunities to interact regularly with Americans and otherwise experience American culture in the course of their jobs.
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