Employing a J1’er (Benefits/Process)

Why Host an International Intern/Trainee?

Many employers are not aware of the added value foreign interns can bring their business. By hosting an international intern, not only will you provide them opportunities to gain valuable skills and knowledge, your business will also benefit from their unique international perspective and skills.

Benefits to Your Business

Cultural Diversity: Providing an internship opportunity to a foreign student or recent graduate allows you to create a multicultural and dynamic business environment that promotes cross-cultural ideas and understanding. Because our applicants seek out our services directly, they are highly motivated to succeed and contribute to your business.

International Insight: Even if your company does not do business with other countries, hosting an international intern is guaranteed to provide you with new ways of thinking and insights that your business may otherwise not have access to. Their unique educational and professional backgrounds provide them with fresh perspectives on a range of tasks and projects.

Availability: Unlike American interns who may only be available for a few hours a week due to school schedules and other time commitments, international interns come to the US specifically for the internship experience and can train from 32 to 40 hours per week for up to 12 or sometimes 18 months. This provides your business with greater flexibility with tasks and projects and allows the intern to be utilized more effectively. In addition, your company does not have to go through the hassle of training a new intern every few months.

Understanding the J-1 Visa Program

The purpose of the J-1 Visa Program is to provide international participants with opportunities for professional development, insight into American know-how, and a greater understanding of American society and culture. J-1 interns and trainees are expected to share the cross-cultural and professional knowledge they have gained in the U.S. upon return to their home country at the end of the program. The J-1 program is also intended to allow American businesses and individuals to learn about the culture and expertise of the participant’s home country.

Using the J-1 Visa Program to fill the position of a regular staff member and/or to immigrate into the U.S. is strictly prohibited.

Understanding J-1 Visa Sponsorship

Any foreign national whom you would like to invite to your U.S. company for an internship or training must first be accepted by an officially designated organization/sponsor. This helps ensure that the candidate and proposed training satisfy all visa and regulatory requirements. The U.S. Department of State designates and authorizes sponsors to issue prospective interns or trainees the Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019 form) that is required for interns and trainees to apply for the J-1 visa.

Program Requirements

To be eligible to host a sponsored J-1 Intern or Trainee, your company needs to:

  1. Have found an international candidate to whom you would like to offer training or agree to host a candidate.
  2. Provide the intern or trainee with a structured training program that must both be suitable to his or her qualifications and background and be approved by a sponsor (as required by J-1 Program regulations). The sponsor will assist you in developing an adequate training plan (DS-7002).
  3. Ensure that the intern or trainee is engaged in training and does not perform ordinary work that a part-time or full-time staff member of the company would otherwise be responsible for. J-1 participants may not make final decisions about, or carry the full responsibility for, major tasks, assignments or projects. However, they may provide assistance in these matters since on-the-job training is encouraged as an important learning tool.
  4. Offer training activities up to 18 months in one of the subject fields  designated by the U.S. Department of State.

Your prospective J-1 Intern or Trainee needs to:

  1. Be currently enrolled or within 12 months of graduating from a foreign degree-granting post secondary institution in a relevant course of studies (interns), or have a degree and at least 1 year of work experience in a field directly related to the proposed training (trainees).
  2. Know English well enough to perform successfully in the proposed training activities.
  3. Plan to leave the U.S. within 30 days after completion of the program.
  4. Possess a great attitude, eager to learn and participate in program activities.


James Cumiskey is Business Development Manager for KEMP Technologies based in their New York headquarters. Coming from Ireland, he has been through the J1 process before and found his employment through networking and interviewing on the ground here in the city.

Twitter: @jamescumiskey1

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescumiskey1/

Networking/Job Hunting in NYC

Quite possibly the most valuable thing you can do if looking for a job here in New York is networking. We Irish are a bunch that tend to look out for each other and have quite an already established network of connections here. Whether it be Irish American or born and bred Irish, we’re here and there are several organizations and continuous events to help you get yourself out there and start conversations that will get you on your way to securing a job in NYC!

You cant afford to be shy when networking in NYC. You have to really put yourself out there at events. Walk up to strangers, introduce yourself. Strike up conversations. Be politely direct and tailor the conversation around looking for work and in the particular industry/role you need. The following organizations/events don’t do the work for you. They are merely a starting point for you to get in contact with people that more than likely have been in your position at some stage in their career and may be able to point you in the right direction or know someone who knows someone. Its good practice to bring a copy of your resume, just incase and be prepared to get numbers/emails.

Digital Irish

Digital Irish recognizes the difficulty of getting started and finding employment in the city and aims to shortlist a network of highly qualified, motivated Irish graduates and notify them, via our email blasts, of great companies that are currently hiring in the USA. Typical positions in which recent graduates find employment include; sales, business development, social media management, marketing, finance / accounting, and IT.

While we will facilitate making introductions to companies everything else will be your sole responsibility. We do not charge a fee, this is a voluntary service to help you find work.

Join our mailing List for job announcements and get in contact with some of the team here: http://digital.irish/team/

We also host regular networking sessions and quick-pitch events where startups present to our community and ask for support and feedback. This is a good opportunity to show up and mingle with other professionals in New York mainly from Irish backgrounds and strike up conversations about jobs, advice and connections. Keep updated on our upcoming events by joining or social media pages and mailing list.

IIBN- Irish International Business Network

IIBN is the leading network of Irish entrepreneurs and business professionals.  The objective of IIBN is to facilitate greater communication and connectivity between successful Irish business people all over the world with a view to identifying and exploiting new business opportunities.

Keep up to date with their events here: http://iibn.com/events/categories/new-york-events/

IIBN also operates a number of mentor programs across each of its chapters.  The purpose of these is to harness potential, enhance skills, develop leadership, provide knowledge, guidance and connections.

The mentorship programmes available are quite distinct so please have a look to see if one will suit you. Information and application details are available. If you need clarification with any particular aspects of the programmes please get in touch at info@iibn.com.

Check out the different programs here: http://iibn.com/mentorship/

IBO- Irish Business Organization

The IBO is a not-for-profit, non-denominational organization which seeks to promote, foster and advance the business interests of Irish and Irish American business people in the tri-state area and beyond.

The IBO provides a unique forum for Irish and Irish-American business people via its regular networking meetings and other events and initiatives. Our mission is to Network, Communicate and Reciprocate!

Keep up to date with their events here: http://www.ibonewyork.org/Upcoming-events

And join the IBO Young Professionals here: http://www.ibonewyork.org/IBO-Young-Professionals

It’s vital you get at least a temporary US cell whilst job hunting in the states. You can’t rely on recruiters/ potential employers to just correspond through email. Most will call you without prior warning or at least want to conduct a phone interview at some stage. And if you got no phone or there’s an obstacle they’ll move on. So go into any American cell phone provider and purchase a topup/burner cell and add the cell number to your resume.

Once that is taken care of you can start applying through different websites and forums such as the below:




Linkedin  (Quick tip: Update your location to ‘New York’ on Linkedin so recruiters will find you based on location)

Remember, job applications are great but building connections can be just as good if not better. Reach out to that Facebook friend now in New York you haven’t spoken to in years, send an email to that former colleague just moved to New York you barely knew. They might know someone, their company might be hiring. Believe me, you never know where it leads to.

James Cumiskey is Business Development Manager for KEMP Technologies based in their New York headquarters. Coming from Ireland, he has been through the J1 process before and found his employment through networking and interviewing on the ground here in the city.

Twitter: @jamescumiskey1

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescumiskey1/


J1 Visa and Process

Before seeking any job, internship or traineeship in the United States it’s very important to know the visa process inside out so you have an awareness of what lies ahead and also to be able to explain it to any possible US company/organization at interview stage. Believe me, knowing this in advance saves any misunderstandings between you and your employer along with educating them on the process, if they are not already aware.