Host and Hire Seasonal Staff

Our Work and Travel program connects international students and U.S. businesses with a commitment to cultural understanding and public diplomacy.
  • Overview

    Bring the world to your workplace

    Work with enthusiastic international university students to help fill your seasonal hiring needs. Designated by the U.S. Department of State, Greenheart Exchange’s Work and Travel program allows for participants from over 30 countries to work and travel throughout the U.S. for up to four months. We connect host organizations (U.S. seasonal businesses) with participants (international university students) to diversify your workplace and fulfill a commitment to cultural understanding and public diplomacy. 

    Program at a glance
    • Host organization requirements: Must have seasonal hiring needs & an interest in cultural exchange
    • Job requirements: Full-time positions (minimum of 32 hours per week)
    • Program length: Up to 4 months followed by a 30-day travel period (varies by country)
    • Cultural opportunities: Host organization facilitates cultural experiences for participants
    • Language skills: Participants are screened for English proficiency

     

    Types of seasonal businesses
    • Restaurants
    • Amusement Parks
    • Waterparks
    • Retail Stores
    • Hotels
    • Campgrounds
  • Hiring Options

    Greenheart Exchange is organizing virtual and in-person hiring events for the upcoming season.

     

    HIRING METHODPARAMETERS & BENEFITS
    International Job Fairs
    • Travel internationally (multiple countries offered by season)
    • Meet participants in face-to-face interviews
    • Hire 25 or more participants
    • Experience the participants’ culture first hand
    • Volunteer with Participants, alumni, staff and Greenheart partners in the local community
    • Lifelong travel memories!
    Greenheart World's Fair
    • Travel to Chicago
    • Conduct virtual interviews at Greenheart's home office
    • Hire 25 or more participants
    • Greenheart recruits candidates, organizes the event, and hosts interviewers for the day(s)
    • Spend time with Greenheart staff and other employers to share experiences and best practices
    • No passport required!

    Virtual Hiring Events
    • Attend a virtual hiring event from your home or office
    • Greenheart recruits the candidates, just join the event online to begin your interviews!
    • Minimal time commitment!
    Job Board / Hiring Center Online (available for Summer Programs only)
    • Hire from your office at your own pace
    • Post your jobs to candidates from multiple countries
    • Search for candidates who meet the dates/qualifications required
    • Receive direct applications from candidates
    • Use the online hiring center to view candidate profiles
    • Interact directly with candidates, including scheduling virtual interviews
    • Helpful to fill in needs, or for smaller organizations just getting started with the Work and Travel program
  • International Job Fairs

    Participate in an international Job Fair and complete your seasonal hiring through in-person interviews. This hiring option allows you to travel to another country and interview pre-screened Summer Work Travel applicants. By hiring on a Job Fair, you can explore the sights and sounds of another country and complete your hiring in just four days.

    Previous Greenheart International Job Fairs

    Dominican RepublicSanto DomingoReflections from the 2023/24 International Job Fair in Dominican Republic
    ThailandBangkokReporting from the Thailand Job Fair in 2023
    KazakhstanAstanaJob Fair in Kazakhstan 2018
    Greenheart is busy preparing dates/locations for our 2024-25 International Job Fairs. Please check back in June for countries/dates! Dates are subject to change. The employer booking form is due one month prior to the first day of the Job Fair.
  • Greenheart World's Fair

     

    Greenheart World’s Fair:  Host Organizations travel to Greenheart Exchange’s headquarters in Chicago and conduct virtual interviews of pre-screened J-1 participants from around the world. It’s an efficient way to hire staff in a short time!

    Read more about Greenheart World’s Fair.

    Contact your Greenheart representative for more details or email us at workandtravel@greenheart.org 

  • Virtual Hiring

    There are two easy ways to hire virtually with Greenheart.

    Virtual Hiring Events: 

    Attend from your home or office, where you can complete your seasonal hiring through virtual interviews managed by Greenheart. Greenheart recruits the candidates, so all you need to do is join the event online to begin your interviews! Events occur every Wednesday starting June 5. 

    Learn more about Greenheart’s Virtual Hiring:

    Job Board / Hiring Center Online: 

    You post your jobs and interact directly with candidates who meet your dates/qualifications to arrange virtual interviews. This is helpful to fill in needs, or for smaller organizations just getting started with the Work and Travel program.

    Contact your Greenheart representative for more information or email workandtravel@greenheart.org to sign up!

    New to Greenheart? Contact us to learn more!

     

  • Timelines

  • Participant Availability

    Our participants come from around the world to participate in the Work and Travel program. Find countries that work best for your business by checking out program dates by country below. 

    CountryTypical Start DateTypical End Date
    SUMMER
    ThailandMarch 7 – May 7July 7 – September 7
    PhilippinesMarch-26September-1
    Colombia May-1August-30
    BulgariaMay-1September-30
    Czech Republic May-1October-1
    Dominican Republic May-4September-10
    Jamaica 
    May-5September-7
    Turkey 
    May-15October-1
    Kazakhstan May-8September-1
    Ghana 
    May-13September-5
    Russia 
    May-15September-15
    Slovakia 
    May-15September-15
    Mexico 
    May-19September-5
    Serbia 
    May-21October-10
    Malaysia 
    May-25September-15
    Poland 
    May-25September-30
    Mongolia 
    June-7September-6
    Jordan 
    June-1October-1
    TaiwanJune-1September-30
    NigeriaJune-1October-1
    SpainMay-24October-7
    RomaniaJune-15September-30
    AlbaniaJuly-15October-15
    WINTER
    BrazilNovember-15March-15
    PeruDecember-1March-31
    ArgentinaDecember-1April-1
    ParaguayDecember-1March-31
    ChileDecember-1April-1
    MalaysiaNovember-25March-15
    EcuadorJanuary-20October-1

    To view the official start and end dates established by the U.S. Department of State, click here.

  • Regulations

    Department of State links
    Seasonal and Temporary Employment

    Seasonal: Employment is of a seasonal nature when the required service is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern and requires labor levels above and beyond existing worker levels. Summer Work Travel host organizations should generally not hire for all three (summer, winter and spring) seasons, as the intention is that placements are only with businesses that have a seasonal need, so as not to displace U.S. workers.

    Summer Work Travel host organizations are not to rely on program participants to fill year-round positions, as these positions should be filled by the U.S. workforce.

    Temporary: Employment is of a temporary nature when a host organization’s need for the duties to be performed is a one-time occurrence, a peak-load need, or an intermittent need.

    Temporary positions requested by host organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. The host organization must be able to demonstrate why a temporary position cannot be filled by the U.S. workforce.

    Host Organization Check-Ins

    Host organizations are required to notify Greenheart Exchange when their participants arrive, do not arrive, or leave before their DS-2019 end date; when there are changes in the job conditions and about any emergency situations.

    A host organization can report to the Greenheart Exchange by logging in to your Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account.

    Department of State Confirmation Calls

    The Department of State sometimes contacts host organizations to confirm names of participants hosted and job details. Greenheart Exchange asks that the host organization follow these steps if you receive a call from the Department of State:

      • Identify the caller. Only release information to the Department of State. Participant information is private, so this information may not be released without participant’s consent.
      • Ask the caller to send you an email describing the information they are requesting. This email should come from a state.gov email address.
      • Reply to the Department of State email. Usually they are verifying the number of participants hired and their names and job information. In the past, host organizations who did not respond to Department of State calls experienced participant visa denials.
      • Let your Greenheart Exchange contact know if you have any questions regarding a job placement confirmation. If you don’t know who your Greenheart Exchange contact is, call our toll-free U.S. number: 1-866-684-9675.
    Prohibited Placements

    *NOTE:  All placements are subject to Greenheart Exchange approval. Some jobs that are not listed here may still be found to be inappropriate for the Summer Work Travel program. As the visa sponser, Greenheart Exchange reserves the right to prohibit any placement.

    In addition to jobs prohibited by the Department of State, Greenheart Exchange prohibits participants from working:

    • In positions in kiosks.
    • In positions with moving companies.
    • In positions with staffing agencies.
    • With third-party organizations. The participant must be hired, paid, and directly supervised by the same company.
    • With lifeguard companies that have not first completed a Greenheart Exchange questionnaire.
    • In positions that involve door-to-door or traveling sales.
    • In positions where manual labor is the primary focus, that require a high-level of skill, that present safety concerns, or that lack cultural exchange.
    • In positions with tent companies.
    • In laundry-only positions, or other positions with extensive periods of time in rotation.
    • In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people (e.g. applying henna tattoos).

    Prohibited Placements by Location:

    In the effort to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Greenheart-sponsored participants, we have made the difficult decision to limit geographical areas we are willing to sponsor placements in. This policy is subject to change at Greenheart’s discretion.

    Greenheart Exchange does not permit placements in:

    • Oil Regions (e.g. Williston Basin- ND, SD, MT)
    • Hawaii
    • Baltimore, Maryland
    • Detroit, Michigan
    • Rural Alaska

    In addition, Greenheart Exchange will consider a case-by-case exception for placements proving to be exceptional in the following areas:

    • Florida Panhandle (e.g., Destin, Panama City Beach)
    • Harrisburg/Hershey, PA

    Conditional Placements by Location:

    Placements for full program options will be considered on a case-by-case basis in the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and Alabama, and in the Florida panhandle from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Mexico Beach, Florida, including Panama City and Destin. To be considered by Greenheart Exchange, host organizations in these areas must provide excellent housing and extensive cultural activities for the SWT participants.

    The Department of State prohibits Summer Work Travel participants from working:

    • In positions with host organizations that fill non-seasonal or non-temporary job openings with participants with staggered vacation schedules.
    • In positions that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program.
    • In sales positions that require participants to purchase inventory that they must sell in order to support themselves.
    • In domestic help positions in private homes (e.g., child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur).
    • As pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators.
    • As operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which a driver’s license is required regardless of whether they carry passengers or not.
    • In positions related to clinical care that involves patient contact.
    • In any position in the adult entertainment industry including, but not limited to jobs with escort services, jobs in adult book/video stores, and jobs in strip clubs).
    • In positions requiring any shift where hours will fall predominantly between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
    • In positions declared hazardous to youth by the Secretary of Labor as outlined at Subpart E of 29 CFR part 570.
    • In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people and/or adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions guidelines (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage, manicure).
    • In positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that participants will be paid minimum wage in accordance with federal and state standards.
    • In positions involved in gaming and gambling that include direct participation in wagering and/or betting.
    • In positions in chemical pest control, in warehousing, and at catalog/online order distribution centers.
    • In positions with traveling fairs or itinerant concessionaires.
    • In jobs that do not allow participants to work alongside U.S. citizens to interact regularly with U.S. citizens and to experience U.S. culture during the workday portion of their Summer Work Travel programs.
    • In positions that require licensing.
    • In positions for which there is another specific J category (e.g., camp counselor, intern, trainee).
    • After November 1, 2012, in positions in the North American Industry Classification System’s (NAICS) Goods-Producing Industries occupational categories industry sectors 11, 21, 23, 31–33 numbers.
    Participant Check-Ins
    • Participants must contact Greenheart Exchange immediately upon their arrival to the U.S.
    • The arrival check-in must be done no later than 3 days after the arrival date.
    • Participants are required to validate their programs upon arrival to their Greenheart Exchange approved host organization, and no later than 7 days after the program start date.
    • Participants must also check-in with Greenheart Exchange every 30 days or by the deadlines listed in their Greenheart Online accounts.
    • Failure to complete any of these communications may result in a negative SEVIS status, requiring the participant to return home immediately.
    Housing Policies

    Policy

    The Department of State places an emphasis on the safety, security, and quality of housing for Summer Work Travel participants. The following policies are provided to ensure participants are provided with appropriate housing.

    • Housing must follow, at minimum, all local, state, and federal housing, building, and fire safety codes.
    • Every participant must have their own bed. A bed is defined as a mattress on a bed frame or box spring. Air mattresses or mattresses directly on the floor are not acceptable.
    • Participants must have a designated bedroom. Sleeping in a common space such as the living room is not acceptable.
    • Employment must not be contingent on the participant living in host organization-provided housing.
    • There must be affordable and safe transportation to and from work.
    • Participants must submit their housing information to Greenheart Exchange no later than 30 days before their DS-2019 start date.

     

    Guidelines

    The following guidelines are provided to help avoid some common issues.

    • Provide a lease or rental agreement that clearly defines rules and regulations.
    • Inform participants about how security deposits are managed.
    • Conduct an initial housing inspection with the participant, documenting issues with participants when they arrive.
    • Basic amenities, such as a grocery store and bank should be easily accessible from participant housing.
    • Housing providers should offer short-term leases for 3 to 4 months.
    • Monthly rent should be no more than 33% of a participant’s monthly gross income.

    The above is subject to change based on regulatory updates from the Department of State and internal Greenheart Exchange policies.

    If you have any questions concerning the information provided, please contact your host organization toll-free at 1-866-684-9675.

  • FAQs

    How much does it cost to hire international participants?

    Nothing! Our Work and Travel Program is a free service to employers.

    When are international participants available?

    We have international participants that can meet all of your seasonal needs. Our summer participants arrive between May and July and can often work until October 1.

    Winter participants typically arrive Mid-November through January, and can work until March or April.

    What countries do your Work and Travel participants come from?

    Our participants come from more than 30 countries. Summer participants come from countries in the  Northern Hemisphere; winter participants come from countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Do all Work and Travel participants speak English?

    Yes. The level of English ability ranges from basic to fluent. You will receive an assessment of each participant’s English abilities before hiring them. This assessment will include a test score as well as interviewer’s comments on the participant.

    Can a participant get more than one job?

    The J-1 visa allows participants to work at more than one job. However, we explain to participants that their primary commitment is to their initial, approved employer. If they are interested in working another job, we ask that they discuss this with you. Participants can’t start an additional job until Greenheart approves it or they will put their program at risk.

    Can my participants quit their Job?

    All Summer Work Travel participants are employees-at-will and can leave their employment at any time. The Department of State regulations state that neither employers nor sponsors can create barriers if participants want to leave. If one of your participants is asking to leave early, please reach out to your Greenheart contact so that we can personally speak to the participant and highly encourage them to stay through the remainder of the program.

    What should I pay my international participants?

    International participants must be paid the same as an American employee doing the same job, while adhering to state minimum wage laws.

    Am I required to provide housing?

    Host organizations working with Greenheart Exchange are now required to arrange or provide affordable housing in close proximity to the work site. For questions about this, please reach out to your Greenheart Exchange contact.

    Are Work and Travel participants exempt from paying taxes?

    No. All participants are required to pay federal, state and local taxes (if applicable). While participants are all university students in their home countries, the IRS does not consider them students while they are in the U.S. For tax purposes, Work and Travel participants are considered non-resident aliens and must file a tax return. Participants are often eligible for a refund at the end of the fiscal year.

    Do I have to provide participants with a W-2 Form?

    Yes. W-2 forms should be mailed to participants in their home countries as early as possible. Ask your participants to give you a self-addressed envelope when they are filling out their W-4. This will help ensure you have their correct international address when it is time to send their W-2.

    Do my international participants have health insurance?

    Yes, all Greenheart Exchange participants have health insurance during their entire program (the dates listed on their DS 2019 form). Please note that if your participants are interested in traveling after they finish working, they will need to purchase additional insurance either from us or from another insurance company.

    What if I need help or have questions during the season?

    Please call our office at 1-866-684-9675. Our office hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. There is also a 24-hour emergency assistance line for employers and program participants. The emergency number is 1-855-767-5642.

    Host organizations can also always call or email their Greenheart contact.

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