Hiring teachers from abroad has grown increasingly popular, but getting them into the country post-9/11 is a huge headache. Typically, districts will compete for the highly sought-after multi-year "H-1B" visa, but these visas are snatched up quicker than Super Bowl tickets. Only 65,000 of these visas are issued each year for all skilled professions, not just teaching.
There's another option besides the H-1B that many districts are unaware of, the "J-1" visa. This visa, also known as the "Exchange Visitor Program," allows foreign teachers to stay in the US for a year at a time for a maximum of three years. Since the time allowed is so limited, J-1 visa recipients are exempt from Social Security and Medicare contributions for the first two years, saving districts a considerable sum of money.
To be eligible for a J-1 visa, a foreign teacher has to have the equivalent of a B.A. in education, at least three years of teaching experience, and must pass all state licensure requirements before arrival.