More employers are recruiting international students to work or train at their companies and start-ups. Why? Because for the past decade, international students have brought unique experiences and fresh perspectives, leading to the inception of now public companies like Zoom and becoming high-performers at their organizations. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, international student enrollment was above 1 million in the U.S. The numbers are rebounding, and now is the perfect time to hire talent from foreign countries.
At Intrax Global Internships, we have over 40 years of experience helping employers and host organizations hire global talent through internship programs. We connect leading companies with talented interns and trainees across the globe. Our students are motivated to get started, have already made an impact for many of our partners, and are continuing to provide value to businesses across the United States.
Want to start your own internship or training program? In this article, we’ll cover:
- Benefits of hiring international students
- Host employer qualifications
- How to create an internship program
- How to get started on hiring interns/trainees
Why Hire International Students As Interns?
International students from across the globe are bringing specialized skills to the workplace. They’re researching topics in emerging markets like clean-energy innovation, public health, and climate change resilience, and their expertise is valuable.
Hiring international interns means that top talent from across the globe bring their skills to your door. They have different experiences and perspectives when it comes to the newest tech and research. The benefits of hiring an international intern or trainee include:
- Increased diversity
- Global perspectives
- Expanded hiring pool
- Increased productivity
- Access to STEM initiatives
Increase Diversity & Inclusion
Hiring diverse candidates brings unique experiences to your company, allowing you to stay updated on the latest global trends and add a wide variety of skills to your team. Students get to learn with your company and experience the American work culture, while you get the opportunity to hire top talent from other countries.
Working on projects with international workers is a big indicator of success. Research finds that companies with high rankings in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) outperform competitors by 36% in profitability. The more inclusion you add to your team, the greater your profit.
Gain Global Perspectives
Thinking globally is one of the best recruitment ideas for your company. Students from countries with specialized markets have unique perspectives on rising tech.
Take a student from South Africa for example—with a global health and medical innovation market of $3.2 billion, students from South Africa are leading in the development of technologies combating waste and improving public health. Top talent is limited, and U.S. companies are constantly competing to hire the best. Hiring globally can bring them to you.
Expand Your Hiring Pool
Finding talented employees in the U.S. is becoming more and more competitive as start-ups and tech companies expand. A global talent acquisition funnel widens your pool of workers, and hiring interns and trainees attracts future interns to your company. This puts you at an advantage.
Take Robinhood, one of our customers. They hire J-1 engineering interns from Canadian universities (University of Waterloo is ranked as one of the best engineering universities), who are excited to work for U.S. tech companies. They provide hands-on experience to interns while powering key areas of their company. Instead of struggling to find the perfect candidate in a competitive field, they keep their talent pool wide, and the growth of their program shows how well it works.
Hiring an international intern can increase workplace productivity by lessening the load in other areas. Interns can fill in gaps where work needs to get done or support a rapidly growing company.
Hiring interns from diverse backgrounds also means that they’re bringing new ideas to the team and motivating others to get work done. Increasing your team’s DEI improves your productivity—Deloitte Australia found that inclusive teams outperform their counterparts by 80%.
Access STEM Initiatives
At Intrax, we’re dedicated to advancing diversity in STEM. We’re a designated sponsor for the Early Career STEM Research Initiative, a program launched by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
This Biden international student initiative encourages host organizations to recruit international interns, allowing Americans and international students to learn about each other’s cultures. By hosting an exchange visitor, your institution can improve its international credibility, reputation, and brand. This will have a positive impact on the lives of future professionals across borders, and help to create and strengthen connections with overseas partner organizations.
To continue fostering diversity, equity and inclusion, our J-1 program recruits and partners with emerging STEM markets including:
- Africa: Africa’s leading performance in global health and waste innovation is a result of strong researchers and innovative talent. For example, more than 50,000 workers in South Africa collect and transport waste every day, making contributions towards reducing carbon emissions. Many STEM international students from South Africa have first-hand experience with global health initiatives—and they can bring their knowledge to your company.
- Pacific Islands: Higher education institutions in the Pacific Islands are leading the transition to clean-energy solutions. Pacific Island leaders and changemakers are taking climate action at a local and regional level, implementing ecosystem-based strategies.
- South America: Countries like Colombia are leading the path to sustainability, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% in 2030 and taking the steps to do so. With a strong knowledge of bio-diversity and sustainable agriculture practices, workers and students from Latin American countries are making a difference in climate change resilience and advocating for climate innovation education.
How Can Employers Qualify for Hosting Foreign Students?
Hosting international students requires that you work with a J-1 visa sponsor. For foreign students to intern or train with your company, they’ll need an exchange visitor J-1 visa, which allows international visitors to visit the U.S. for educational and cultural programs. Sponsors help students and hosts navigate the entire process, so that you can focus on hiring talent and providing a great work environment.
To qualify to host an international student, employers need to meet these J-1 visa employer requirements:
- An Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance (or proof of exemption or self-insurance)
- A ratio of 5:1 full-time employees to interns
- Annual revenue of $3 million or a minimum of 25 employees, OR on-site visit
- A training site of at least 50% American employees
- An on-site direct supervisor (not remote)
- A primary office and website language of English
- A DS-7002 form
As a U.S designated J-1 visa sponsor, Intrax Global Internships can guide you through the qualifications and help you prepar to host a J-1 visa intern!
If your company meets all of these requirements, you’re ready to create your international student internship program! Have more questions? Request info here!
Create An Internship Program For International Students
Ready to start hiring interns and trainees? We’ll go over the process of getting started. You can start small and hire one or two interns—once you’ve got the hang of it, we’ll help you expand!
- Robinhood: A financial tech company with over 3,000 employees with a mission to provide investment tools and finance education for everyone.
- Omnium: An expert firm in full-service marketing and sales optimization, acting as an extension of CPG businesses.
- Equilar: The #1 provider of executive data, using cloud-based programs to organize and provide information in accessible formats.
We work with a variety of companies that invest in talent. We also work with universities like:
- The University of Waterloo
- The University of Toronto
- The University of British Columbia
Our customers know the importance of diversity and inclusion, and they successfully use internship programs to add value to their companies. Want to join them? Find out how your company can create an internship or training program to attract global talent!
Types of Internships & Training Programs
To work as an international intern or trainee, students apply for an internship or trainee program in an approved category. The internship and training program categories that we offer J-1 visa sponsorship for are:
- Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
- Arts and culture
- Construction and building trades
- Education, social sciences, library science, counseling, and social services
- Hospitality and tourism
- Information media and communications
- Management, business, commerce, and finance
- Public administration and law
- The sciences, engineering, architecture, mathematics, and industrial occupations
Once you know which category your company’s program qualifies for, it’s time to learn some of the more technical requirements needed to hire an intern!
J-1 Internship Program Restrictions
To ensure the safety, happiness, and success of both students and hosts, host company internship programs need to follow certain J-1 visa program regulations. Check out our breakdown below!
There is a wide variety of work that your intern or trainee can do under the J-1 visa program regulations when you start an internship program. Our hosts and interns work together to create value-added projects and activities that benefit the company and the student!
Projects for Interns & Trainees
International Interns and trainees can bring value to your company through many different projects, no matter how big or small! Below are some examples of projects for your intern or trainee, and why they matter.
The students we work with make a big difference in how successful an internship program is. Our students are:
- Determined to prove their knowledge
- Motivated to gain professional experience
- Dedicated to helping your company
- Eager to connect with others
- Intent on improving language skills
One host company supervisor loved their experience with one of our interns, saying that Michele was an amazing contribution to their team:
“She went above and beyond with a wonderful attitude every single day. We are going to miss her SO much!!! She will go far with whatever career path she follows.”
Ready to create your own internship program for international students? Contact us today to get started on hosting global talent!
How To Hire International Students
- Create goals
- Partner with a J-1 sponsor
- Recruit globally
- Onboard interns & trainees
- Work with your student
The most important step to hiring international students is creating company goals. You should ask yourself:
- What are my hiring goals?
- What are my fiscal goals?
- What value do I want my employees to get from an intern?
- What value can the company supply to an intern?
- What cultural and social factors are important to my program?
Making goals will help you create structured activities and plan rewarding projects for your intern or trainee.
Partner With a J-1 Sponsor
To hire a J-1 visa intern or trainee, you’ll need to partner with a designated J-1 visa sponsor. Finding and choosing a sponsor to work with can be an intimidating experience, since there are hundreds of officially designated sponsors. When evaluating a potential sponsor, make sure to ask about:
- Visa assistance
- Medical insurance
- English proficiency evaluation
- Ongoing program support
- Government compliance
Intrax has over 40 years of experience as a designated sponsor. We support students and hosts throughout the entire process of visitor exchange, and we’re dedicated to making the experience the best it can be for both of you!
Megan Lum, Human Resources Manager at Equilar, found that working with Intrax for over four years has paired them with interns with fantastic work ethic, positive attitudes, and a dedication to helping the business:
“We currently have an Engineering intern, Marketing intern, and Client Services intern working with us right now. We’ve also used Intrax interns for a Sales internship in the past. Intrax makes it easy to find great candidates and facilitates the process so we don’t have to worry about anything but providing a great work environment.”
We provide key documents like the DS-2019 and help hosts fill out the Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) (DS-7002). We partner with Envisage Global Insurance to provide high quality medical insurance to our J-1 visa exchange visitors. We require our visitors to submit an English proficiency test, and we ensure that programs follow government regulations.
We’re here for you and your intern throughout the entire exchange process, and we are always available to answer questions and provide support.
The next step of hiring international students is recruiting globally. At Intrax, our years of experience mean that we have networks across the globe that connect us with international talent. We work with companies to learn about your goals, determine what type of intern or trainee would work best for you, and connect you with the best fit!
Onboard Interns & Trainees
Onboarding your intern involves completing the internship placement plan, also known as the DS-7002 form. This document is required for your intern to obtain their J-1 visa before they come to work for you. Don’t worry—we’ll guide you through the process to make it as simple as possible. The form includes questions about:
- Participant information: This section asks for intern/trainee name, qualifications, degrees, and/or professional work.
- Site of activity information: This includes info about your EIN (Employer ID Number), hours per week, workers’ compensation, number of employees, and annual revenue.
- Contract agreement: This covers the general responsibilities of the student, the host, and the sponsor.
- Training/internship placement plan: This section requires detailed info about the work your intern/trainee will be doing, specific to the type of program.
We provide pre-departure training and guide hosts through the placement plan process. Even so, it is the host company’s responsibility to successfully onboard. You should:
- Send interns an agenda before they arrive
- Set up the intern’s accounts (email, etc.)
- Encourage and answer questions
- Make your intern feel welcome!
Work With Your International Student
Once your placement plan and onboarding is complete, it’s time to have a great experience! A successful international internship program provides benefits for both the host and the student by combining workplace responsibilities with cultural learning opportunities.
Your intern or trainee should learn everything there is to know about various departments to make them feel welcome outside of the workplace as well. Taking your staff on a team-bonding trip to the local baseball game? Make sure your intern/trainee has a ticket!
A successful internship experience makes your company globally competitive, and it attracts future interns who want to work with a leading company. Ready to work with them? Contact us!
Get Started Hiring International Interns With Intrax Global Internships
Hiring international students through an internship or training program is a perfect way to add value to your business. International interns bring diverse perspectives, specialized skills, and creative ideas to the workplace! Their cultural backgrounds can help your company reach its inclusion goals and bring in future interns who want to work with a competitive company.
We’ve helped host companies connect with talented international students for over 40 years. We’re dedicated to advancing diversity in tech and building cultural bridges, helping people from the U.S. connect with others all across the globe. We know what it takes to create a successful internship program, and that’s why we’re here to help!
Ready to hire valuable international talent? Contact us to create your internship program and get started! We can’t wait to start this journey with you.