Ever wondered why it seems during the summer that some local lifeguards or amusement park workers often have foreign accents? There is a good chance that they hold J-1 summer work and travel visas, a State Department program that allows college students worldwide to work in the U.S. for up to four months in the summer.
The J-1 work and travel initiative, founded during the Cold War to be a “people-to-people diplomacy program that engages young people from around the world with a goal of fostering mutual understanding,” is a major hit with employers across the country. More than 90,000 students visited the U.S. in 2014 to participate in the program, the State Department said.
A big reason why U.S. businesses like employing J-1 visa holders: Significant savings in payroll taxes.
While employers are obligated to pay J-1 participants at least the federal hourly minimum wage, they are exempt from paying Social Security, Medicare and federal unemployment tax contributions, unlike U.S. residents. Additionally, the foreign workers in the summer work and travel program must come to the U.S. with competent English-language skills and are obligated to stay with an employer for the duration of their stay. U.S. employers need to contact a designated sponsor organization to participate in the program.
The advantage of hiring foreign workers over local workers has not gone unnoticed by the State Department, unions and labor-rights groups. The State Department, for example, increased regulations and limited the type of work for J-1 participants because the program should be more benefitting of cultural exchanges than business profit. There also have been union protests and claims of worker abuse.
Employers, however, have increased employment of those holding J-1 work and travel visas.
In Florida, for example, which is home to plenty of theme parks and pools that require lifeguards, more than 6,300 foreign students were granted J-1 visas in 2014, up from 1,500 in 2010.
One day, perhaps, the young person checking your pool pass may do so in another language and reply merci beaucoup, danke, muchas gracias or xie xie.
Take a free trial to Bloomberg BNA’s International Payroll Decision Support Network, your one-stop resource for reliable, up-to-date guidance and analysis in every area of payroll administration and compliance.
Join the Bloomberg BNA U.S. and Global Payroll group on LinkedIn and follow Bloomberg BNA on Twitter @BloombergBNA.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)