Host Employer FAQ

Host Employer

About Cultural Exchange Programs and Your Business

With over 20 years of experience in the international cultural exchange sector, we understand that navigating the frequently changing visa rules and regulations can be time consuming and detract your from your business. Alliance Abroad Group acts as your partner to do it all–recruit, place, train, and provide support.

Host Employer frequently asked questions about the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program and H-2B Seasonal Work Program.


J-1 Summer Work Travel Program

The State Department J-1 Summer Work Travel Program is an Exchange Visitor Program designed to achieve the educational objectives of international and cultural exchange by involving young adults in the daily life of the host country through temporary employment opportunities, to return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in the educational and cultural programs in other countries.

The following are prohibited placements: positions in the adult entertainment industry, sales positions that require participant to purchase inventory that they must sell in order to support themselves, domestic help positions in private homes (e.g. child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur), pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators, operators of vehicles or vessels that carry passengers for hire and/or for which commercial drivers licenses are required, clinical care that involves patient contact. For the full list of prohibited placements, please see the “Program Exclusions” section on the Department of State website.

Students must be paid the same as the wage paid to U.S. workers in comparable positions. At a minimum, it must also be the higher of the State and Federal minimum wages.

No. It is a free service for our host companies.

J-1 Summer Work Travel Program participants pay all relevant federal, state and local taxes. J-1 Summer Work Travel Program participants are “EXEMPT” from Social Security (FICA), Medicare and Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA). AAG also works with a preferred tax service provider for all of our program participants, as they are generally able to get back nearly all of the taxes paid once they file their tax return.

AAG partners with our host companies to ensure that affordable and safe housing, and transportation is available for all of our placements. The safety and welfare of our students is of utmost importance. In cases where host companies do not provide housing or transportation, AAG will ensure participants are provided with approved housing leads to select from prior to their arrival to the U.S. The more attractive your offerings (a free meal, company carpool, or available housing) the more students will want to work for you and the more successful the program experience will be overall.

No. AAG does not have the ability to grant visas, but we try to work closely with embassies in the countries from which we are recruiting to establish good relations. We watch visa denial rates in our countries very closely and report visa denials to our host companies as quickly as possible. We adjust our recruitment each year according to the visa success rate around the world.

Interviewing candidates in person is possible at AAG recruitment fairs depending on the size of your request of students. We are also able to help arrange phone or Skype interviews when needed, or we can have AAG staff interview on your behalf.

The State Department J-1 Summer Work Travel Program is an exchange visitor program designed to achieve the educational objectives of international and cultural exchange by involving young adults in the daily life of the host country through temporary employment opportunities and to return home to share their experiences. The program also aims to encourage Americans to participate in the educational and cultural programs in other countries. Today’s global markets require international work experience, and the value added by working in the USA is immeasurable to students from overseas.

J-1 Summer Work Travel participants will receive the federal minimum wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers of “tipped employees” must pay a cash wage of at least $2.13/hr if they claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cash wage of at least $2.13/hr do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. All of our Work & Travel Program participants employed need to be paid the equivalent of their American counterparts.



H-2B Seasonal Work Program

The State Department H-2B visa program allows U.S. companies hire non-citizens for temporary or seasonal non- agricultural work. This program is limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries, with limited exceptions, if determined to be in the United States interest.

We highly recommend the application be submitted at least six to seven months before the desired start date in order to ensure that all information is accurate and that petitions are prepared on time.

Many U.S. businesses are interested in six or seven month stays on average, with a minimum stay of four months. The length of time a company may request H-2B participants must correspond with the length of your seasonal or peak-load need. The H-2B visa is a temporary visa and must not exceed one year. Typically, a seasonal or peak-load need does not exceed a 10 month period.

There is no minimum or maximum number that a company must request. The number of participants you request under the H-2B visa must correspond with your seasonal or peak-load need and the number of permanent and temporary workers employed during previous years.

Many positions requested fall within the hospitality industry such as housekeepers, front desk agents, dining room attendants, banquet servers, waiters, hosts, food preparation workers, cooks, dishwashers, groundskeepers, gift shop attendants, and valet attendants are requested. Additional positions requested include landscapers, lifeguards, amusement park workers, ski lift operators, ski instructors, and other “hands on” positions. Any positions that are unskilled in nature or require minimal training or experience qualify for the H-2B Program.

Workers must be paid the same as that paid to U.S. workers. This rate is determined by the Department of Labor, compiled by state and county, to reflect the average wage rate being paid to U.S. workers in the same industry and position.

Yes. Workers can return for consecutive years, but in some circumstances, may need to remain in their home country for three months (or more) before re-applying for another visa. If the individual is currently in the United States on an H-2B visa, they may extend the visa for up to three consecutive years.

Yes. The J-1 Visa is different from the H-2B Visa and they are not mutually exclusive. The approval for a specific visa solely depends upon eligibility of each individual applicant.

Yes. A company can request the country (or countries) from which the workers are recruited. AAG can provide a list of participating countries upon a company’s request.

Yes. H-2B host companies have to pay for legal expenses, attorney fees, and filing fees, but AAG offers these services at very affordable and competitive rate. You will also be responsible for paying advertising cost as per the guidelines of the Department of Labor. Please contact us for more details.

The Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security issued new regulations for the Program that became effective January 18, 2009, that require that the H-2B workers pay no fees associated with legal and recruiting costs to secure H-2B employment. Employers must now pay fees associated with recruitment of individuals on the H-2B visa. Please contact us for more details.



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