Frequently Asked Questions
GeoVisions recruits university students from around the world to help with your seasonal staffing needs in the winter, spring and summer. We are a small organization, based in New Hampshire, with experienced staff to work closely with you to determine your needs and find students who meet those needs. Our students come to the US on J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas, and we want them to have a great experience here while they are working for employers who will help us achieve our goals. We have a good track record of supplying friendly, hard-working, motivated students for all kinds of jobs.
Who is GeoVisions?
GeoVisions is an international cultural exchange organization, founded in 2001, with a mission of providing meaningful opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the customs and cultures of people in other countries. Our signature program, the Summer Work and Travel program, has served over 40,000 university students and their host employers in the US. Our students have come from over 25 different countries to work in seasonal employment during their school vacation period in positions that cannot be filled by American workers. The keystone of the program is the series of cultural exchange experiences that host employers facilitate for our students.
GeoVisions also offers a variety of opportunities for native English speakers to travel overseas to assist people in over 20 countries in improving their English language skills. Our programs include conversation tutoring, formal classroom teaching, camp counseling, and au pair programs. GeoVisions highly experienced staff work from offices in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Paris, France.
What is a J-1 Visa Student?
The purpose of a J-1 visa program is to provide overseas university students with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the US and return home as ambassadors to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in similar programs in foreign countries. Educational and cultural exchanges can take many forms. On some programs, students come to the US to study English, pursue a degree, or have a “Home stay” experience living with an American family while attending high school. On our Summer Work/Travel program, students come to the US not to study in a classroom or live with a family, but to work and live among Americans so they can learn about our country from first-hand experience. They also have the opportunity to travel in the US after the work period of the program is over.
How does a J-1 Visa program differ from an H2-B Visa program?
Employers who are unable to hire enough local seasonal staff, are able to supplement their staffing needs with J-1 work and travel students. Students can work at a second job if it does not interfere with their primary employment. With H2-B participants, the employer needs to prepare a petition with US Immigration authorities, often a time-consuming task. H2-B visa holders can work only in designated jobs and cannot be reassigned to other jobs by the employer. Employers must pay fees and provide round-trip airfare to H2-B workers, which can be very costly. In addition, some states regulate wages that may be higher than what American workers are paid.
How well do the students speak English?
GeoVisions recruits students of all abilities. In many countries students speak fluent English (Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Western Africa). We work with many universities in other countries where classes are taught in English (like Thailand, China, and Jordan). We test every student for English proficiency and will advise you of their skills. Even students with a lower level of English improve quickly if they have a chance to practice their conversation with other English speakers.
Do I need to pay for your services?
No! Employers do not pay a fee. Students pay a fee to participate in this program. The fee covers services such as placement opportunities, application processing, J-1 visa sponsorship, orientation sessions, health and accident insurance, and ongoing support from GeoVisions during the program.
Since students pay a fee, what do they expect?
Students expect to have the job they accepted and the number of hours of work listed in the job offer. Many students use the money earned to pay back loans they received from family and friends for their program fees. They are allowed thirty days after their work to travel. Many students use the wages they earn to pay their travel expenses. Students also expect to have opportunities to meet and interact with Americans. They want to improve their English and learn about American culture. International students are good employees, but they want to have fun too. Having access to the same places where American students of the same age congregate will also help fulfill their expectations.
How much do I need to pay the students?
According to US State Department regulations, students must be paid at least the federal or local minimum wage and be compensated the same as their American counterparts in the same position.
How long can they stay?
This varies from country to country and are set by the Department of State. Students can work up to four months according to the terms of the visa. Most students, however, are not able to work this long as they are not allowed to miss classes at their home university, but most stay for about 3 months. When they finish the work portion of the program, they can travel (but not work) in the US for an additional 30 days.
What time of year are students available?
Students from South American countries can come in the US winter months. Philippines students come from March through June. Students from other Asian, European, African and Middle Eastern countries come during the US summer through early fall. It is a State Department regulation that employers may only hire J-1 Work and Travel students during their peak season of the year.
How do students get oriented to the program?
Orientations are conducted in a number of methods, depending on the area of the world and season the student is coming on the program. All students are required to attend an orientation prior to their arrival to the US. It is also each employer’s responsibility to provide an arrival orientation to students. This orientation should cover workplace rules and expectations. It should also cover cultural events in the area as well as employer-provided events which they should expect.
What are my responsibilities?
As an employer, you will provide a job for students at the same rate of pay as their American counterparts, assist with housing, job-related orientation and training, and opportunities to meet Americans. Worker’s Compensation coverage must also be provided. You will also need to help students get to the nearest Social Security office to apply for their Social Security Card. It is legal for you to employ a J-1 Summer Work and Travel student before they receive a social security card and/or number. Host employers are also expected to actively plan, encourage and be involved in at least one cultural event or activity each month for program participants.
Can they get second jobs?
Students can work at a second job if it does not interfere with the hours of the primary employer listed on their form DS-2019. The employer listed on their DS-2019 will be their primary employer. They cannot begin working at a second job until they have submitted a verifiable job offer to GeoVisions and received authorization to work at the second job.
Who provides the insurance?
GeoVisions provides health and accident insurance according to US State Department regulations. Current insurance information and claims forms can be found on the GeoVisions website. Employers must provide worker’s compensation insurance which would cover any work-related accident or injury.
Do the students need to have taxes deducted?
Students pay Federal Income Tax, State Income Tax and, if any, City Income Tax. Students do not pay Social Security Tax, Medicare, or Federal Unemployment Tax.