While recent regulatory activity has not had a major impact on IAAPA members, burdensome regulations may cause members to reduce or abandon participation in the program, which would have negative impacts to the business, community, and perhaps even to the U.S. diplomatic agenda.
On Jan. 12, 2017, the U.S. State Department released a proposed rule that would amend existing regulations to provide new program requirements for the J1 Visa Summer Work Travel category of the Exchange Visitor Program.
Among what the proposed rule would do is:
- Placement must be in a location where a sponsor’s employee can get to a participant within 8 hours.
- A participant must be provided no less than 32 hours and no more than 65 hours of work per week, averaged over 2 weeks. Some mutual opt-out provisions exist.
- Placement in janitorial and waste management positions are prohibited.
- Placement in jobs requiring repetitive motion are prohibited.
- Positions in which the participant would have sole responsibility for the safety of others (e.g., single lifeguard at a pool) are prohibited.
- Placement in positions requiring more than 4 hours of work between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am is prohibited.
In Feb. 2017, IAAPA filed a comment letter, found here, asking the State Department for further clarification, and stressed the importance of the SWT program for international college students, and large and small businesses alike.