Ag Partners Joins J1 Visa Exchange Program

Dec 30, 2021

Ag Partners Joins J1 Visa Exchange Program
Starting in January, Ag Partners will participate in the J1 Visa Exchange Program, an international exchange program that enables experienced interns and trainees to work on U.S. farms and agricultural operations.

The J1 Visa Exchange Program is an alternative to the H-2A program that has become common in the agricultural industry as a way of filling temporary jobs. What stands out about J1 in comparison to other programs is that it focuses on workers with a higher level of experience in agriculture, emphasizes education, culture and experience, and allows participants to stay in their host country for a full year. This helps Ag Partners to fill roles and simplify training, but also offers us new perspectives from people with their own education and training from outside of our local areas. 

Many different countries participate in the program, but Ag Partners' trainees will specifically be from Ukraine and Tanzania and be a combination of interns and trainees. Interns are currently enrolled at a university in their home country or have graduated within a year of the program and must have a minimum of one year or prior work experience in his or her occupational field. Trainees have a university degree or professional certificate and have at least a year of prior work experience in their occupational field. Five years of work experience also qualifies a trainee for the program. 

Those who have matched with Ag Partners will arrive in three separate groups and depend on international travel restrictions. The first group, from Ukraine, will arrive in mid-January. The next group will arrive in late winter or eary spring from Tanzania, and the final group will arrive in the U.S. around July. Upon arrival, the groups will start with orientation, go through extensive safety training, and obtain all of their necessary driver's licenses, documentation and certifications needed to fulfill their roles on our team. They will also attend a driving program to get a CDL.

The Foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange (WISE), which serves as the sponsoring organization, facilitates the process of matching students with Ag Partners, handling recruiting, interviewing and pre-screening requirements. WISE also takes care of visa logistics, travel arrangements and other support as needed. 

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