HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce announced the hiring of a new J-1 housing coordinator. The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. “We have brought on a housing coordinator, the state has given us money to do this, so we have someone who has been through the program herself, now looking at what was an informal network for hosting J-1 students and formalizing that process,” said Chief Executive Officer Paul Niedzwiecki. The J-1 visa workers account for a large portion of Cape Cod’s workforce during the summer months when the population is at its highest. “There are only 100,000 in the country, in 2018 the Cape had 5,000 of them, so 6,000 came to Massachusetts 5,000 of those were on the Cape with only 100,000 nationwide” Niedzwiecki said. The number of J-1’s working on Cape has halved since pre-pandemic levels. Sponsoring agencies must now find housing for their visa employees, creating a difficult situation for most facilities.