A new set of regulations for J-1 visa exchange workers is going to affect numerous seasonal employers across the country in 2011. Many employers who rely on exchange programs to provide seasonal summer employees may find themselves caught off guard by the new regulations, resulting in their businesses being heavily understaffed this year.
The Department of State’s “Work and Travel” program brings international university students to the United States to work seasonal entry-level positions. Seasonal U.S. employers can avoid a shortage of staff members this summer by requesting employees now through Cultural Homestay International. As a DoS designated sponsor of the program, CHI can help explain how to navigate the new regulations, and assist with all aspects of job placement, visa processing, housing, and travel arrangements.
The crackdown by the US Department of State, called the “Pilot Summer Work and Travel Program” will specifically affect exchange workers from Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. In the past, visa interviews could be conducted before a job was secured. The new slight, yet strict, change to the rules now requires all students to have a job offer before they are allowed to enter America. The change in the regulations is designed to protect participants from those countries from fraudulent job offers and was made due to recent increases in the popularity of work and travel programs.
This new regulation is expected to eliminate nearly half of the students coming from Eastern Europe who previously looked for summer jobs once they arrived in the U.S. Last year, about one-third of the students who came to the U.S. for a summer work and travel program were from the six countries affected by the new rules, according to a U.S. State Department official.
Employers should contact CHI at 1-800-432-4643 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible in order to guarantee you will be able to find the staff you need for the upcoming summer. CHI recommends that employers from the U.S. make their job offers before the beginning of March in order to allow for visa processing time.
Here is what one employer who has used the program had to say:
“We like to deal with sponsors, such as CHI particularly, because we know the students are here legitimately and with accountability between us. We have a great working relationship to ensure the success and safety of each student. It is an ideal environment for them to learn the American culture, improve their language skills, and meet people from all over the world,” said Ocean Rolling Chair Company Owners in New Jersey. “As far as the tourists that enjoy the chair rides, they like to talk to the students and learn about them as well. As a parent, these students inspire me to encourage my children to work hard, get a good education and travel the world to become well-rounded individuals.”
Cultural Homestay International (CHI) is a non-profit, public benefit, educational organization. Our mission is to bring people of diverse cultures together to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of one another. Since 1980, we have had the experience of bringing the world together through our various international work exchanges and homestay programs.