Fill your short term talent gaps in Biotech, Medtech, or AgTech with the new J1 Visa STEM expansion

Need an intern or some short term support for a project? Having a hard time finding qualified early career workers willing to fill the gap? Looking for unique perspectives and experiences to inspire your team? You should consider hiring workers through the Biden-Harris newly expanded J1 visa program to increase the number of STEM-focused educational and cultural exchanges. Here’s a brief guide to help you determine if hiring through theEarly Career STEM Research Initiative is right for you. 

How does it work?

The program is run through BridgeUSA which acts as a connector between host companies (you) and sponsors (usually universities or cultural exchange programs) .   

  • The host organization is responsible for providing the visitor with valuable skills, education, and experiences in their STEM field while employed.
  • The sponsors are responsible for recruiting, support during the visa application process, organizing housing and travel, and monitoring the progress and welfare of the J1 visitor.  

Is Your Company Eligible?

To qualify as a STEM business under this program your work must fall under one of the categories that are designated STEM fields by the Department of Homeland Security (See the full list here).Whether your business is Life Sciences in general; including Biotech/Pharma, MedTech, GreenTech, or Software companies, you likely meet the qualifications. 

Who can you hire?

The roles you can fill must be temporary positions; trainees, interns or specialists

What is the Cost?

You should budget for:

  • the salary of the candidate 
  • human resource time for interviews and check-ins with the sponsor organization
  • activities to support your visitor’s cultural exploration.

The cost of applications and relocation can be covered with a hybrid approach where applicants themselves or sponsors handle some of the costs.

What are the Benefits?

Hosting an international candidate benefits your company beyond the skills and person hours they add. Research shows when you enrich your team with different perspectives your innovation and outcomes also benefit. However, just adding an international worker to your team and leaving them to sink or swim is unlikely to impact your bottom line. 

To really get the most out of an exchange like this, think carefully about how you will provide a safe, trusting workspace for them (and your whole team) that will foster the open exchange of ideas and experiences, which is the key to driving those boosts in innovation and outcomes.

How to Get Started

  1. Sign the agreement to host a J1 worker
  2. Reach out to a sponsor organization with candidates who will meet your needs. 
  3. Get specific with skill and expertise qualifications you’ll need to get the best match for you and the applicant
  4. Review the qualified applicants the sponsor sends you.
  5. Select your candidate. The sponsoring organization will take care of organizing the documentation for the J1 visa and additional requirements, such as the DS-2019.
  6. Prepare for their arrival. Participants can enter the US up to 30 days before their start date. Consider making the most of this time to help them settle in.

The process can take up to 3-4 months, so plan ahead.

For more information, visit to explore the changes to the J1 program and build your team while also acting as a cultural ambassador for STEM in the US.

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