How to Hire Seasonal Employees

Dear Work & Travel USA employers who run businesses in Hospitality Sector (restaurants, fast food chains, hotels, resorts, amusement parks, retail stores etc.) located throughout the United States.
J1 Abroad can provide your business with seasonal employees that are comprehensively screened. They are enthusiastic and committed to work long hours. International students — (participants of the Summer Work & Travel Program) will perfectly match your company’s needs during the busiest summer season.

Benefits for an employer

Are you seeking to fill a temporary or seasonal job vacancy at your company? Why not consider all the benefits of hiring a highly motivated university student from abroad? The USA Work & Travel Program can benefit your business in many ways:

- Decreased taxes as the employers are not required to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes when hiring an International student.
- The employer is not required to pay unemployment to an International student at the end of the season like many do when they hire local help and no longer need them when their season is over.
- The seasonal employees supplied by J1 Abroad are highly motivated and committed to work extra hours if required by the employer.
- The students are required to follow all company rules and will be treated as local employees of your company.


Frequently Asked Questions

 I want to employ exchange students, how much do I pay to start?
 - For you as an employer, it does not cost anything to hire exchange workers with J1 Abroad.

When and for how long can I employ international staff?
 -  Exchange students arrive between May and July, and can legally work up to September/October. The maximum duration of their work is 4 months.

Where do the J1 Abroad Work and Travel USA participants usually come from?
 -  Our applicants arrive from over 25 countries of the world. Most of the summer staff come from the countries of the Northern Hemisphere.

Are these participants English-speaking?
 - Of course! All the participants can speak English with their command ranging from basic level to fluency. Before you hire someone, you will receive an assessment of his or her English language level.

For how many hours can the participants work during a week? Are overtimes possible?
 - All applicants are notified that they should expect to work 35-40 hours a week. Extra hours are at your discretion. Overtime remuneration laws are different from state to state, and these apply to our international workers. Please provide us with clear schedule information so that the applicants know what they can expect before arriving.

Can an exchange student have more than one job?
 - Legally, the J1 visa allows the participants to be employed at more than one job. Still, we emphasize that a participant's primary commitment should be to their initial employer as arranged by J1 Abroad.

What the international staff is supposed to be paid?
 - Adhering to the minimal wage legislation of your state, you are supposed to pay your international workers the amount you would pay an American employee doing the same kind of work.

Am I required to provide accommodation?
 - Though we ask the employers to at least help the participants in arranging affordable accommodation with easy reach to the job location, it is not an obligation for an employer to provide housing.

How will the people I employ get to my location?
 - When hiring people through J1 Abroad, please communicate with them directly and find out about their transportation to the job site.

Will the participants carry social security cards?
 - Yes, they will. As soon as they arrive, the participants apply for a Social Security card. Cards normally arrive within 1-3 weeks. Meanwhile, employees will have receipts indicating they have applied for their cards.

Do the exchange workers have Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment payments withheld?
 - The law sees participants of the program and holders of the J1 visa as non-resident aliens. With that, they are not supposed to have Social Security (FICA), Medicare or federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes withheld. We recommend contacting a tax professional to find out whether the participants are exempt from state unemployment taxes in your state. Visit for the IRSs Employer Tax Guide for more information.

Are the exchange workers supposed to pay taxes?
 - Yes, they are. All international workers should pay federal, state, and local taxes. They are students in their home countries, but the IRS does not see them as students during their stay in the US. Exchange students are considered non-resident aliens, and must file a tax return. Often participants are eligible for a refund when the fiscal year ends.

Am I obliged to provide the participants with a W-2 form?
 - Yes, you are. W-2 forms should be sent to the applicants in their home countries as early as it is only possible. Provide the applicants with an envelope addressed to your company when they are filling out their W-4 forms. Thus you can ensure they have your correct international address when the time to send their W-2s comes.

How should the W-4 be filled by my international staff?
 - In accordance with the IRS regulations, participants should use their U.S. address, claim single with 1 allowance (line 5), and request an additional $ per week be deducted out of their paycheck (line 6). This extra amount protects the participants from owing money on April 15th as they don't have to pay the standard amount.

Will my international employees be covered by health insurance?
 - They will. All participants are obliged to have health insurance for their entire stay in the States. Participants pay for their insurance independently. Under the Work and Travel USA program, all applicants must have health insurance covering them in the US, this insurance available for a small monthly fee.

What if a worker gets ill during the stay in the States?
 - All participants have their insurance arranged via program sponsor, or use their own insurance. For every worker, we have insurance information including policy number, contact phone, coverage details, and claim instructions. If an international worker needs healthcare assistance, or is unable to work because of becoming ill, please contact our office.

What if a worker gets injured while doing his or her job?
 - Generally, exchange workers are protected by the same labor legislation as US citizens. All injuries related to jobs are covered by Workers Compensation. Refer to your Workers Compensation insurance policy for more information.

If I like the way my international staff work, can I employ them for more time?
 - In fact, you can't. Work And Travel USA participants hired via J1 Abroad are only allowed to work for 4 months maximum. There are no circumstances under which the program can be prolonged. There is a 30-day period at the end of the program reserved for traveling. During this time the participants can't work, and any work done is considered illegal.

Can a participant stay and work after the date on the DS-2019 form?
 - It is not possible. Participants can't work after the date on their DS-2019 form. This period cannot be extended under the conditions of the J1 visa.

The visa of my worker expires before the last date on the DS-2019. Is this participant still allowed to work?
 -  The dates on the J1 visa are the dates between which the participant is allowed to stay in the US, The dates on the DS-2019indicate the time when this person is eligible to work. The visa dates are not related to the work period.

What is SEVIS?
 -  The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a computer system that monitors all aliens on the USA territory, including J1 Visa holders. Work and Travel program participants are obliged to register in SEVIS during 10-20 days since their program start date (depends on Sponsor requirements). Registration (by Internet or phone call) should be done by the students themselves.

I may need more workers mid-season, what can I do?
 -  You are welcome to contact us if you need extra staff. Sometimes international workers contact us looking for a second job in their field. What is more, some people might finish their work commitment and start looking for further work. Let us know if you are interested in employing some of these international workers.

If I'm not quite satisfied with my employees, what then?
 -  In case you think that a participant is not meeting your expectations, our first advice would be talking to the person and making your expectations clear. In our experience, in many cases these things are settled by a discussion about performing at work. The thing is, in some cases participants may not be aware of a problem, or not know how to do a better job. Contact J1 Abroad if the situation does not improve.

What rules and laws cover the participation of J1 Abroad international workers?
 - On the whole, international workers are subject to the same regulations as their US colleagues.