On Sept, 22, 2008, the State Department announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Korea to create a new J-1 Intern program for Korean Students and Recent Graduates, the WEST (Work, English Study, Travel) Program. Expected to launch in 2009, the WEST program will allow up to 5,000 qualifying university students and recent university graduates from the Republic of Korea to enter the United States for a period of 18 months on J-1 exchange visitor visas that will allow them to study English, participate in internships, and travel independently.

The Exchange Visitor Program has confirmed separately that the WEST program will utilize the J-1 Trainee/Intern category.