I've been an intern in the US with a J1 visa for 18 months (two J1). I am still allowed to stay until mid September and according to my visa, I am not subject to section 212e - "two year rule does not apply". My manager wants to hire me full time on an E2 visa after completion of my internship program. But our HR team seems reluctant from a legal standpoint: they told me that since the purpose of the J1 visa is cultural exchange, I am supposed to go back to my country to use the knowledge I acquired in the US, which makes it very difficult to hire me after completion of my internship. To be honest I don't understand why this would be difficult since I am not subject to the 2 year rules. I've seen indeed on official websites that we are "expected" to return to our home country when the visa ends but I interpreted this as "you cannot stay in the US illegally after the end of your visa", not as "you cannot be hired on another visa", otherwise why would I not be subject to the 2 year rule?... Is hiring someone after completion of his/her J1 internship possible? What do you think of my case from a legal standpoint?
Thank you very much for your help!