America Reforms Student Work Visa Program

Changes in rules for US J-1 Summer Work and Travel (SWT) Program

The US Department of State has issued new regulations and vital reforms to the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program. This is a program which brings more than 100,000 students from foreign colleges to the United States, every year.

These changes are a result of various allegations regarding the misuse of this student work visa program recently. The US State Department had received reports regarding the widespread misuse of the student work visa program in the year 2010.

Many the foreign students who entered the United States on US J-1 visas were found to be employed in strip clubs and many students were admitted to work under compulsion. Many other foreign students who had entered the United States on US J-1 visas were also found to be living and working in highly lamentable conditions.

The main intention of this US student-exchange program is to understand the American culture. But this program has resulted in nothing other than swaying away from the purpose for which the act created. Hence the State Department decided that new tougher rules will definitely stop such misuse of the very popular student-exchange program. New rules will make sure the foreign students who enter the United States will be treated fairly. The new rules will also see to the safety, security and welfare of the foreign students in the United States. It will also see to that the foreign students get jobs where they will interact with the Americans and get an exposure to the culture of the United States.

This US SWT program is very popular because, it attracts a large number of foreign students to enter the United States and work there for a period of four months. Around 100,000 foreign students come to the United States every year under the US J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program.

This program was created to give opportunities to the post-secondary international students to come to the United States and earn, along with experiencing the American culture, during their summer holidays.
Eligibility requirements to participate in this US SWT Program is very simple. A student who is pursuing full-time studies or a degree at any of the accredited educational institute or a bona-fide student of post-secondary education is eligible to apply for the US SWT Program.

Certain new rules will be effective immediately. Few other new rules will take effect in November. One of the significant rules which would prohibit the participants from working in manufacturing and construction industries, will also be effective in November. The rules also prohibit the participants from working in businesses in which the primary working hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Few new rules are designates 49 companies the State Department as official “sponsors,” who would help the students to get visas, find jobs and housing. It will also ensure that the participants are treated decently. The State Department also wants the employers to ensure that the jobs that are offered are genuinely seasonal and temporary and it will not displace US workers. Through this program, the participants are required to come to the United States during their summer breaks.

Employers who hire foreign students over an American can save up to 8 percent because they need not pay Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes. The foreign students are also required to have their own health insurance.