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Help Save the J1 - 6 Things you can do to help the J1 Visa

Help Save the J1 - 6 Things you can do to help the J1 Visa

Author -  Vicki Kenny

6 Things you can do to help the J1 Visa

A week ago an article was published by the Wall Street Journal which outlined possible changes (and potential threats) to five J1 visa programs - Au Pair, Summer Work Travel, Camp Counselor, Intern and Trainee, as a result of the 'Buy American, Hire American' (BAHA) Executive Order by the Trump Administration.


Reassuringly the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has since written to all au pair sponsors confirming that it 'continues to implement the J-1 visa programs at the same levels we have for the past few years, and we appreciate the support that American businesses have shown for the program and its value to their local communities'.Unsurprisingly the J1 community including sponsors, overseas agencies, host families, SWT employers and program participants and many others, has united together to counter these latest developments.

The Alliance for International Exchange, a US lobbying organisation which operates on behalf of all J1 member organisations (and of which our AIFS President and Chief Executive, Bill Gertz, is currently the Chair), is working with its members and other associations to co-ordinate an industry response to convince the administration NOT to include J1 programs in its BAHA implementation.

AIFS and Au Pair in America are working closely with the Alliance as part of the Save the J1 Campaign, which includes grassroots advocacy, legislative action and media engagement.

Amongst other things within the last week, this group have:

  • Enabled over 80,000 letters to Congress
  • Generated hundreds of news articles
  • Created 12 state and district advocacy teams
  • Brought 383 businesses and organisations together for a White House conference call
  • Recruited hundreds of new members of the Americans for Cultural Exchange Coalition
  • Mobilised a large Working Group of Alliance members
  • Released a major SWT report
  • Created multiple fact sheets and other resources

As international recruiters of au pairs and other J1 participants, we can play a very important role in this Campaign. 


But here's how you can support our efforts:

  • Contact New Zealand's Ambassador to the U.S. - Tim Groser (DM on Twitter) https://twitter.com/nzambassadorus . The most powerful international voice on this issue is our country’s Ambassador to the United States. Ask Tim Groser to contact the US Department of State and share how important these programs are to your country. Please personalise and use this draft letter from you to your ambassador

Tell your story and spread the word through social media. 

Please do the following:

  1. Post on Social Media using the hashtags #SaveJ1
  2. Like and share our Facebook Post about saving the J1
  3. Share your story, and encourage others to share theirs, through this Americans for Cultural Exchange site
  4. If you are a former J1 exchange participant, use or share the letter to your ambassador as a template to write to the Editor of the newspaper in the U.S. community where you completed your exchange
  5. Sign and share our petition


Most importantly, please be reassured that our program continues as normal and you should continue to pursue your aspirations of becoming, or extending, as an au pair on this great program.

Thank you all for your ongoing commitment and belief in Au Pair in America and rest assured we are doing everything we can to ensure our program continues for the indefinite future.


What do you think? Love to hear your comments!

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