The Trump Administration may be moving towards revamping the J-1 exchange visitor program in ways that could be detrimental to universities, research organizations, businesses, hospitals, healthcare, families, and students. J-1 nonimmigrant (temporary) visas are issued to: foreign students, scholars, researchers, postdocs, college work/study participants, medical students/residents/doctors, interns, trainees, au pairs, and more. As part of his campaign’s immigration reform outline, President Trump singled out J-1 work/study programs, stating that he would terminate these programs and replace them with programs aimed at employing inner city youths in these part-time, limited duration (usually seasonal) minimum wage jobs. While the Administration has been silent on changes to any of the J-1 programs thus far, some of our J-1 sponsor clients have received an email from a high-ranking State Department official hinting at what may be on the horizon for all J-1 programs. The email references the appearance of “emerging Administration policies and themes”, which is causing the State Department to consider steps to ensure that the programs achieve the following objectives:
- Alignment with National Security
- Asserting U.S. Leadership & Influence
- Fostering Economic Opportunity for the American People
- Ensuring Effectiveness and Accountability to the U.S. Taxpayer
Other than the email, the State Department has not commented publicly about the future of the J-1 program. We will continue to monitor any proposed changes to the J-1 program and post on our blog.