Many immigrants with J-1 visas are struggling to find work in the crisis

Immigrants seeking U.S. visas have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — from the Trump administration’s travel restrictions, to a new executive order that temporarily halts immigration.

J-1 visa holders are particularly having a tough time.

J-1 is a temporary non-immigrant visa issued by the U.S. embassy and managed by the Department of State for individuals who participate in work and study exchange visitor programs.


At least 300 of them are members of this Facebook community – where they describe themselves as J-1 “workers” from the Philippines, “working” in hotels and restaurants across the U.S.

Lockdown measures have caused many J-1 visa holders to be abruptly terminated from their work-study programs.

They are now out of status and broke.

Philippine Consul general Claro Cristobal said across the 10 states covered by the Philippine Consulate in new york, there are 775 Filipino J- visa holders in 2019.

“It’s a visitor program, it is not an employment program, it is not a way or a door for migrating to the US / Every one of them is expected in the US for a definite, finite period of time, and to return to our country after their training.”

Cristobal said, the consulate has received at least 57 requests for assistance from j1 holders, 15 of them asking for financial support.

“We have asked for assistance from the Philippines and  our migrant workers affairs office, our OWWA, our CFO (Commission on Filipinos Overseas) have been considering those requests and extend some assistance.”

For many of these J-1 Pinoys, going home soon is not an option.

Flights are limited and over priced, plus many of them have yet to repay up to $10,000 in placement fees.

The good news is, the bayanihan spirit is very much alive amid the crisis.

Local Filipino organizations such as the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, or NAFCON, have been providing groceries and other supplies to help struggling j-1 visa holders survive the pandemic.

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  • Mario
    24 April 2020 at 2:56 am - Reply

    TRUMP wants to WIN YOUTH votes. US University/Colleges earns $40B/yr in form of TUITIONS from 200,000 a YEAR, Chinese students. Part of the package is OPT(Optional Practical Training) and CPT (curricular Practical Training). Colleges will help them to get a WORK permit as a TRAINEE on US Company. In 2018, 200K Chinese Graduates, 151K were given a work permit and never went back to China. TRUMP declares NAT EMERGENCY due to COVID, CANCEL all work permit for Summer jobs on ONE Million Chinese students. Informed them to spend summer vacation in their home country. US youth can easily find a Summer job. 5% are Gov’t scholars,95% are children of Millionaire and Billionaire. There are 4.4M millionaires and 373 Billionaires in China. If you die all your business will be taken by the Communist Party, can NOT pass-on to the Children. ALIBABA a $967B Corp, JACKMA retires, new CEO from CCP run Alibaba fired all his relatives, children working in the Company. Once they get work permit they start buying houses, properties money coming from their parents.