Trainee program in the US
Information for employers
As I do not know what you already know about the J-1 Trainee program, here are some general things:
The US government created the program rules and enforces them via different US sponsors. We work with several US sponsors. We choose to work with a particular US sponsor depending on the employers and candidates needs. For western Europeans the chance to have the visa granted at the local US consulate is VERY high. If you seek to offer the Trainee program to people from other countries, please let me know so that I can check the visa chances.
The J-1 Trainee visa is NOT a working visa even the candidate will work full time and earn a salary being on your payroll (the candidate will apply for a Social Security Card number at the local Social Security office after arrival). The candidate is not allowed to work (train) like another regular employee duirng the program. The Trainee must learn new things on a regular base (like outlined in the Training plan). Only if you let the candidate go and it was not the fault of the candidate, a new trainee position might be secured with another employer. All those things require US sponsor approval.
It is important that the candidate will not execute only one or simple or repeating tasks for the entire time. Additionally the candidate should be exposed to cultural events. These are the main requirements of the program. NOTE: If the training is in the culinary field, only candidates from this particular field can apply. In order to participate in the program, the candidate should have at least a University degree (course should have at least 50% on campus classes) or min. 5 years of work experiences in the field which was obtained outside the US. (Unfortunately vocational training in Europe does not count as educational or work experience). The max. duration is 12 months for your professional area (Culinary and Hospitality field). A Trainee program for candidates from the filed of for example business, administration, marketing might train with you for max. 18 months.
After the program ended and after a break of 2 years outside the US, the same candidate can do another Training period/program as long as the candidate learns NEW things during the second program. For example: First Training period is a normal Trainee program. Second program is more focused on supervisor skills.
The process takes around 3 months until the Trainee can start the Trainee program at your location.
The 12 months program costs are US$ 3.300 (self placement status if you indicate the candidate). This includes my entire support, application processing with the US sponsor, visa papers to apply for the J-1 Trainee visa at the local US consulate, travel health insurance for 12 months (you do NOT need to offer a local health insurance) and continuing support for the duration of the program. NOTE: As a Travel health insurance cost about US$60 per month, the insurance provider always has the right to buy a flight ticket back to the home country in case the costs of treatment are very expensive in the US and the candidate can still travel via airplane.
Any payment only needs to be done AFTER the US sponsor approved all application docs and is ready to issue the visa papers. This means if we are not 100% sure if a candidate can be processed, we can always as the US sponsor without paying anything upfront.
The candidate can arrive max 30 days before the start of the program and can stay max 30 days after the program ends. During this time the candidate can NOT engage in any kind of paid work. Days before the program can be used to find long term accommodation. Days after the program ends can be used to visit tourist sites throughout the US. For people on the 12 months program no vacation time must be offered. Saying this and if offered or needed because of personal reasons, vacation time for travels inside or outside the US can be approved by the US sponsor IF all parties agree.
The candidates salary should be at least the states minimum salary or according to state rules. Overtime will be paid according to state rules. No extra benefits like for example 41K are required from the program but please feel free if you can to offer more like for example uniform, discounted meals, transportation pass, etc. NOTE: We think that the candidate should be able to afford on the salary a basic but comfortable and safe life while being in the US. The candidate should also be able to afford to participate in local cultural events.
If you do not provide or at least indicate accommodation, the candidate will arrange this directly by him/herself after arrival. It is normal that an employer does not offer accommodation. Depending on the location it takes usually around 5-10 days until long term accommodation is secured if the candidate can focus on the task. I will advise how this can be done in the best way. In most cases I suggest to find a furnished room in an existing apartment as being able to sign an apartment lease is quite difficult for a just arriving foreigner without bank, work, rent history and a local lease guarantor. If you have other suggestions, we are happy to hear about them.
The US sponsor does not like to see that a Trainee will get another visa before the program ended in "good standing". The main intention of the program is that every Trainee returns to the home country after the program is over. If the candidate applies for another US visa after leaving the US, that is completely fine. Finish in "good standing" one visa before applying for a new visa.
You will deal with me during the entire time of the program. I will copy you an any main email to the candidate so that you always know what the status is. You can always reach me via skype (icce-michael), whatsapp (+55 11 99956-5922) or google talk (firstname.lastname@example.org).