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[Federal Register: March 17, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 53)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 14763-14768]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr17mr00-20]                         

[[Page 14763]]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Part IX

Department of State
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau of European Affairs
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
22 CFR Part 139

Miscellaneous: Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program; 
Interim Rule

22 CFR Part 41

Visas: Nonimmigrant Classes; Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training 
Program Visitors, Q Classification; Interim Rule

[[Page 14764]]

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Bureau of European Affairs

22 CFR Part 139

[Public Notice 3258]

 Miscellaneous: Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program

AGENCY: Bureau of European Affairs, Department of State.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This rule establishes a training and employment program in the 
United States for certain residents of Northern Ireland and designated 
counties of the Republic of Ireland. This new program is mandated by 
legislation enacted in 1998. Under the program, in each of three 
program years beginning in FY 2000, up to 4000 persons, inclusive of 
their spouses and children, who are physically resident in Northern 
Ireland or the designated counties in the Republic of Ireland, will be 
eligible to enter the United States for a maximum of three years in 
order to develop job skills and conflict resolution abilities in 
support of the Irish peace process.

DATES: This interim rule is effective March 17, 2000. The Department 
invites written comments which must be received no later than May 16, 
2000.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments, in duplicate, to the Director, 
Office for United Kingdom, Benelux and Ireland Affairs, Bureau of 
European Affairs, Room 4513, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 
20520.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Nelson, Officer for Ireland 
and Northern Ireland Affairs, Bureau of European Affairs, Room 4513, 
Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, Tel. (202) 647-6585.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:   

What Does This Rule Do?

    This interim rule amends Subchapter N, Title 22 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations relating to miscellaneous matters within the 
purview of the Department of State by adding a new Part 139 that 
describes the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program.

Why Is It Necessary To Establish This Program?

    In the ``Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 
1998'' (hereinafter ``IPPCTPA''), Public Law 105-319, Congress mandated 
that the Secretary of State and the Attorney General establish a 
program to allow young people from disadvantaged areas of Northern 
Ireland and designated counties of the Republic of Ireland suffering 
from sectarian violence and high structural unemployment to enter the 
United States for the purpose of developing job skills and conflict 
resolution abilities in a diverse, cooperative, peaceful, and 
prosperous environment. Those young people would return to their homes 
better able to contribute toward economic regeneration and the Irish 
peace process. Congress required that the program promote cross-
community and cross-border initiatives to build grassroots support for 
long-term peaceful coexistence.

What Requirements Did Congress Establish for the Program?

    The ``IPPCTPA'' provides that in each of three consecutive program 
years beginning in FY 2000, up to 4000 residents of Northern Ireland or 
of six counties designated within the Republic of Ireland, inclusive of 
their spouses and children, may be provided nonimmigrant visas for the 
purpose of entering the United States temporarily (i.e., for up to 
thirty-six months) to develop job skills and conflict resolution 
abilities. Each person admitted to the program must have a residence 
abroad that he or she has no intention of abandoning and must otherwise 
be qualified to receive a United States nonimmigrant visa. The 
principal alien also must be under 36 years of age. The six designated 
counties of the Republic of Ireland are Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, 
Leitrim, Sligo, and Donegal. The Immigration and Naturalization Service 
(``INS'') is required to maintain records of the nonimmigrant status 
and place of residence in the United States of all persons admitted 
under the program and report to Congress on all those who overstay 
their nonimmigrant visas.

What Are the Respective Responsibilities of the Departments of 
State and Justice in Establishing and Running the Program?

    Responsibility in the Department of State for establishing the 
program structure and maintaining its operation has been delegated to 
the Bureau of European Affairs (unless otherwise specifically stated 
herein, further references to the Department or to the Department of 
State will refer to this bureau). The INS will be the responsible 
agency representing the Attorney General. After extensive consultations 
between the Department and INS it was agreed that the Department would 
be responsible for: (1) The design of the program mandated by IPPCTPA; 
(2) the formulation of policies and procedures concerning the Irish 
Peace Process Cultural and Training Program (IPPCTP); (3) the selection 
and oversight of the Program Administrator (see discussion below); (4) 
coordination with other U.S. Government agencies and representatives of 
the governments of the Republic of Ireland and of Northern Ireland; and 
(5) establishment of the requirements for and approval of United States 
employers who will participate in the program. The INS is responsible 
for authorizing employment under this program. INS is also responsible 
for: (1) Monitoring the nonimmigrant status and residence of all 
participants in the United States; and (2) reporting to Congress on 
program participants who overstay their nonimmigrant visas, at the end 
of the three program years and during the three subsequent years. (See 
the separate rule regarding visa issuance to program participants 
published concurrently with this rule by the Bureau of Consular Affairs 
of the Department of State in Part 41 of this title and the 
corresponding rule of the INS published concurrently in Title 8).

How Will the Program Be Administered?

    The Department and INS have agreed that the most efficient manner 
in which to administer the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training 
Program is to select a ``Program Administrator'' from the private 
sector experienced in managing projects of similar scope and 
complexity. The Program Administrator will be responsible for the day-
to-day management of the program. Consequently, this rule provides for 
the selection of such a Program Administrator and for the delegation of 
responsibilities to that Program Administrator. Logicon, Inc. has been 
chosen as the Program Administrator. Logicon may be reached by phone at 
(877) 925-7484, via the Internet at www.WalshVisa.net, via e-mail at 
logicon@walshvisa.net, or by mail at: Walsh Visa Program, Logicon, 
Inc., 1831 Wiehle Avenue, Suite 100, Reston, VA 20190-5241.

What Are the Principal Functions of the Program Administrator?

    The principal functions of the Program Administrator are:
    (a) Identifying job/training opportunities in designated economic 
sectors, and recommending to the Department employers in the United 
States who meet the criteria of section 139.7 and who wish to 
participate in the IPPCTP. Job/training opportunities will be located 
in a number of geographic areas across the United States,

[[Page 14765]]

depending on the availability of jobs, relative cost of living, support 
infrastructure, and other relevant factors.
    (b) Making available, through electronic or other means, 
information about job/training openings to potential program 
participants and assisting them in securing job placements in the 
United States.
    (c) Certifying in writing to a United States consular officer in 
the United States Embassy in Dublin or the United States Consulate 
General in Belfast, or to an officer of the INS, that a principal alien 
has been selected to participate in the IPPCTP. This certification will 
be used only to assist in: (1) nonimmigrant visa issuance to and 
adjudication of an application for admission made by the principal 
alien and accompanying family members, or (2) adjudicating a request 
made by the principal alien to change employers under the IPPCTP while 
in the United States.
    (d) Providing pre-departure and pre-employment orientation seminars 
to program participants, as appropriate, and otherwise assisting 
participants in a smooth transition to life in the United States.
    (e) Monitoring participants' compliance with Program requirements 
while in the United States, and verifying that participants are 
receiving the agreed training and skills.
    (f) Cooperating with the Training and Employment Authority of the 
Republic of Ireland (``FAS'') and the Training and Employment Agency of 
Northern Ireland (``T&EA'') in all aspects of the program, including 
assisting participants in finding jobs in their home countries upon 
completion of their U.S. training.
    (g) Reporting to the Department and INS on various aspects of the 
program and on program participants as directed. And
    (h) Developing and maintaining a computerized database and website 
to underpin all of the above functions.

What Are the Specific Criteria for the Initial Selection of the 
Participants?

    This rule establishes the following basic criteria for program 
participants. All applicants must be between 18 and 35 years of age and 
be physically resident in Northern Ireland or one of the border 
counties for at least three months prior to applying to the Program. 
The minimum age of 18 was selected to prevent any conflict with the 
employment laws of any state in the United States. The upper age limit 
was established by statute.
    All applicants deemed eligible must also meet United States 
immigration/visa requirements, including being in receipt of a job 
offer certified by the Program Administrator, and demonstrating 
satisfactorily to a Consular Officer that they have a residence abroad 
that they have no intention of abandoning.
    In addition, candidates must fall within one of the following two 
categories of persons.
    (a) The first category consists of unemployed applicants: (1) who 
have been unemployed for at least 3 months, or (2) who have completed 
or are currently participating in a program of T&EA or of FAS, or of 
another publicly funded training and employment program. Persons who 
have recently been made redundant in their employment (i.e., lost their 
jobs) or received a notice of redundancy (termination of employment) 
may apply to the program immediately without having to wait 3 months 
after becoming unemployed.
    (b) The second category consists of persons: (1) who are currently 
employed and (2) whose current employer has nominated them to 
participate in the program for additional training and/or job 
experience that will benefit both the employee and the employer upon 
returning to their same employment.

How Were These Criteria Developed?

    The Department, in consultation with INS, FAS, and T&EA, developed 
the criteria. The Department believes that for the program to 
contribute to peace and economic regeneration, local authorities and 
employers ought to determine which individuals would most benefit from 
the training offered and, in turn, whose receipt of training would most 
contribute to the regenerative and peaceful goals of the IPPCTP. This 
rule establishes the role of the training and employment agencies in 
the program participant selection process.

What Types of Training Will Be Offered to the Participants?

    The Department, in consultation with INS and the training and 
employment agencies, determined that, to be of maximum benefit to the 
economies of Northern Ireland and the six border counties, the program 
must provide a wide range of job/training opportunities in those 
sectors experiencing personnel or skills shortages, or in which the 
governments expect rapid future growth and/or new inward investment. 
All parties agreed the program would begin with the following sectors: 
hospitality and tourism; customer service; information and 
communications technology; pharmaceuticals; engineering; sales, 
marketing and promotion; agriculture/horticulture diversification; food 
processing; and furniture. This rule names the sectors initially 
identified and agreed upon and permits the selection of additional 
sectors or the deletion of already identified sectors upon agreement of 
the Department, INS, and both training and employment agencies, or of 
one of the agencies with respect to participants from that agency's 
country.

How Will Employers Be Selected for Participation in the Program?

    Employers will be selected for participation in the program 
according to the criteria established by this rule. The criteria have 
been adopted to ensure that employers will offer employment and 
training commensurate with the goals of the program. To participate in 
the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program, U.S. employers 
must:
     Provide job/training opportunities that:
    (1) Correspond to one of the occupational areas identified by the 
governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and that
    (2) Include a career path comprising (1) work assignment rotations, 
and/or (2) training opportunities, which offer promotion potential if 
job performance is satisfactory.
     Offer health insurance, which, at a minimum, provides:
    (1) Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness 
(major medical); and
    (2) A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
     Pay participants at least the minimum wage and at the same 
rate as American workers doing the same or similar work.
     Agree not to petition for a change of immigration status 
or non-immigrant status for any participant.
     Grant permission to the Program Administrator to conduct 
on-site visits and take other measures necessary to verify that each 
employer's job/training contract is being followed.
     Notify the Program Administrator in the event of the 
termination of a participant from employment, or departure of the 
participant from the Program. And,
     Prepare a written record describing the work experience 
gained, and make it available to each participant.

How Is the Department of State Amending Its Regulations?

    The Department is adding Part 139A in order to establish a 
regulation for the purpose of implementing the

[[Page 14766]]

requirements of the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program 
Act of 1998 (``IPPCTPA''). The new regulation, at Sec. 139.1, et seq., 
sets forth the structure of a new training program, relevant 
definitions for the program, rules for participation in the program and 
responsibilities of various entities involved in the administration of 
the program. This regulation is being promulgated in conjunction with 
regulations by the INS and the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the 
Department of State regarding this program.
    Section 139.1 explains the origin and purpose of the Irish Peace 
Process Cultural and Training Program (``IPPCTP'') and the general 
responsibility within the Department of State for establishing it.
    Section 139.2 provides definitions of frequently used terms 
associated with the IPPCTP.
    Section 139.3 establishes the specific responsibilities of the 
Bureau of European Affairs for formulating general policies and 
procedures for the IPPCTP, including the selection of a private sector 
Program Administrator to be responsible for the day-to-day operation of 
the IPPTCP.
    Section 139.4 establishes the specific responsibilities of the 
Program Administrator.
    Section 139.5 establishes participant trainee selection criteria.
    Section 139.6 establishes the method by which program candidates 
may request acceptance into the IPPCTP.
    Section 139.7 establishes criteria for the selection of United 
States employers wishing to participate in the IPPCTP.
    Section 139.8 identifies the economic sectors in which training and 
employment under the IPPTCP will initially focus. This section also 
provides for the deletion or addition of economic sectors from or to 
the list.

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department is implementing this regulation as an interim rule, 
with a 60-day provision for post-promulgation public comments. 
Publication as an interim rule is based upon the ``good cause'' 
exceptions set forth at 5 U.S.C. sections 553(b)(3)(B) and (d)(3). The 
Department determined that there was not enough time to issue a 
proposed rule with request for comments as the Irish Peace Process 
Cultural and Training Program is scheduled under the relevant statutory 
provision to begin in FY 2000 (October 1, 1999 through September 30, 
2000). Publication of this regulation as an interim rule will expedite 
implementation of Public Law 105-319 and allow eligible aliens to apply 
for and participate in this program as soon as possible in light of the 
statutory expiration of the program on October 1, 2005.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. section 
605(b)), the Department of State has reviewed this regulation and 
certifies that it will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Participation in the Irish Peace 
Process Cultural and Training Program is limited to 4,000 individuals 
annually for three consecutive years. The activities of the 
participants in the United States will take place in multiple locations 
and economic sectors so that no significant economic impact should 
occur.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not include any Federal mandate that may result in 
the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, of $100 million or more, or increased expenditures by the 
private sector of $100 million or more. Therefore, the requirements of 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 do not apply here.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996.

Executive Order 12866

    Although exempted from Executive Order 12866, this rule has been 
reviewed to ensure consistency with its principles. This rule is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under the Executive Order.

Executive Orders 13132

    This regulation does not contain policies with federalism 
implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism 
assessment under Executive Order 13132.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule involves collections of information subject to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. These collections are in the process 
of being approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 139

    Aliens, Passports and visas.

    Accordingly, add 22 CFR part 139 to read as follows:

PART 139--IRISH PEACE PROCESS CULTURAL AND TRAINING PROGRAM

Sec.
139.1   Purpose.
139.2   Definitions.
139.3   Responsibilities of the Department.
139.4   Responsibilities of the Program Administrator.
139.5   Qualifications required for selection as a trainee.
139.6   Requesting participation in the IPPCTP.
139.7   Qualifications for participation as an employer in the 
United States.
139.8   Target economic sectors.

    Authority: Pub. L. 105-319, 112 Stat. 3013.


Sec. 139.1  Purpose.

    (a) The regulations set forth in this Part implement, in part, the 
``Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998 (the 
``IPPCTPA''), Public Law 105-319, 112 Stat. 3013. The purpose of the 
IPPCTPA is to establish a program to ``allow young people from 
disadvantaged areas of designated counties suffering from sectarian 
violence and high structural unemployment to enter the United States 
for the purpose of developing job skills and conflict resolution 
abilities in a diverse, cooperative, peaceful, and prosperous 
environment, so that those young people can return to their homes 
better able to contribute toward economic regeneration and the Irish 
peace process.'' This part describes the Irish Peace Process Cultural 
and Training Program (the ``IPPCTP'') hereby established by the 
Department, the procedures for its operation and the requirements for 
participation.
    (b) The Department, in consultation with the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (``INS''), will implement the program specified 
in the IPPCTPA by working with the relevant governmental authorities in 
the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland to further the goals of 
the IPPCTPA, by selecting a Program Administrator to carry out the day-
to-day operation of the IPPCTP, by approving, upon the recommendation 
of the Program Administrator, employers in the United States to carry 
out the training and employment elements of the IPPTCP and by providing 
general oversight of the IPPCTP.


Sec. 139.2  Definitions.

    The following definitions apply to this part:
    Accompanying family members means the spouse and minor children of 
the principal alien.
    Applicant sponsor means FAS, T&EA, or an employer in the border 
counties or in Northern Ireland who has nominated

[[Page 14767]]

an employee to participate in the IPPCTP.
    Border counties means the counties of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, 
Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.
    FAS means the Training and Employment Authority of the Republic of 
Ireland.
    IPPCTP means the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program.
    Program Administrator means the organization selected by the 
Department to carry out the Department's responsibilities for the day-
to-day management of the IPPCTP.
    Program Participant means an individual selected to participate in 
the IPPCTP.
    T&EA means the Training and Employment Agency of Northern Ireland.
    United States employer means an employer with operations in the 
United States that has been recommended by the Program Administrator 
and approved by the Department of State for participation in the 
IPPCTP.


Sec. 139.3  Responsibilities of the Department.

    The Department of State retains overall authority for all IPPCTP 
activities, including, but not limited to:
    (a) The design of the program mandated by IPPCTPA;
    (b) The formulation of policies and procedures concerning the 
IPPCTP;
    (c) The selection and oversight of the Program Administrator;
    (d) Coordination with other U.S. Government agencies and 
representatives of the governments of the Republic of Ireland and 
Northern Ireland; and
    (e) Establishment of the requirements for and approval of the 
United States employers who will participate in the program.


Sec. 139.4  Responsibilities of the Program Administrator.

    The Program Administrator will be responsible for the following:
    (a) Identifying job/training opportunities in designated economic 
sectors, and recommending to the Department employers in the United 
States who meet the criteria of Sec. 139.7 and who wish to participate 
in the IPPCTP. Job/training opportunities will be located in a number 
of geographic areas across the United States, depending on the 
availability of jobs, relative cost of living, support infrastructure, 
and other relevant factors.
    (b) Making available, through electronic or other means, 
information about job/training openings to potential program 
participants and assisting them in securing job placements in the 
United States.
    (c) Certifying in writing to a United States consular officer in 
the United States Embassy in Dublin or the United States Consulate 
General in Belfast, or to an officer of the INS, that a principal alien 
has been selected to participate in the IPPCTP. This certification will 
be used only to assist in:
    (1) Nonimmigrant visa issuance to and adjudication of an 
application for admission made by the principal alien and accompanying 
family members; or
    (2) Adjudicating a request made by the principal alien to change 
employers under the IPPCTP while in the United States.
    (d) Providing pre-departure and pre-employment orientation seminars 
to program participants, as appropriate, and otherwise assisting 
participants in a smooth transition to life in the United States.
    (e) Monitoring participants' compliance with Program requirements 
while in the United States, and verifying that participants are 
receiving the agreed training and skills.
    (f) Cooperating with FAS and T&EA in all aspects of the program, 
including assisting participants in finding jobs in their home 
countries upon completion of their U.S. training.
    (g) Reporting to the Department and INS on various aspects of the 
program and on program participants as directed.
    (h) Developing and maintaining a computerized database and website 
to underpin all of the functions in paragraphs (a) through (g) of this 
section.


Sec. 139.5  Qualifications required for selection as a trainee.

    To be selected as a program participant in the IPPCTP, a person 
must:
    (a) Be between 18 and 35 years of age; and
    (b) Have been physically resident in Northern Ireland or one of the 
border counties for at least three months prior to applying to the 
Program; and
    (c) Meet United States immigration/visa requirements, including 
being in receipt of a job offer certified by the Program Administrator, 
and able to demonstrate satisfactorily to a Consular Officer that he/
she has a residence abroad that he/she has no intention of abandoning; 
and
    (d)(1) Be unemployed for at least 3 months, or have completed or 
currently be enrolled in a training/program sponsored by T&EA or FAS, 
or by other such publicly funded programs, or have been made redundant 
in their employment (i.e., lost his/her job) or have received a notice 
of redundancy (termination of employment); or
    (2) Be a currently employed person whose employer has nominated 
him/her to participate in this program for additional training or job 
experience that will benefit both the employee and his/her employer 
upon returning to the same employment.


Sec. 139.6  Requesting participation in the IPPCTP.

    Requests for participation as a trainee in the IPPCTP must be made 
to FAS or T&EA in the case of Sec. 139.5(d)(1); or, in the case of 
Sec. 139.5(d)(2), directly to the Program Administrator by the 
prospective participant's employer.


Sec. 139.7  Qualifications for participation as an employer in the 
United States.

    To participate in the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training 
Program, U.S. employers must:
    (a) Provide job/training opportunities that:
    (1) Correspond to one of the occupational areas identified by the 
governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; and
    (2) Include a career path comprising work assignment rotations, 
and/or training opportunities, which offer promotion potential if job 
performance is satisfactory.
    (b) Offer health insurance, which, at a minimum, provides:
    (1) Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness 
(major medical); and
    (2) A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
    (c) Pay participants at least the minimum wage and at the same rate 
as American workers doing the same or similar work.
    (d) Agree not to petition for a change of immigration status or 
non-immigrant status for any participant.
    (e) Grant permission to the Program Administrator to conduct on-
site visits and take other measures necessary to verify that each 
employer's job/training contract is being followed.
    (f) Notify the Program Administrator in the event of the 
termination of a participant from employment, or departure of the 
participant from the Program.
    (g) Prepare a written record describing the work experience gained, 
and make it available to each participant.


Sec. 139.8  Target economic sectors.

    (a) Job/Training under the IPPCTP will focus initially on the 
following economic sectors:
    (1) Hospitality and tourism;
    (2) Customer service;

[[Page 14768]]

    (3) Information and communications technology;
    (4) Pharmaceuticals;
    (5) Engineering;
    (6) Sales, marketing and promotion;
    (7) Agriculture/horticulture diversification;
    (8) Food processing;
    (9) Furniture.
    (b) Additional sectors may be added to or deleted from the list in 
paragraph (a) of this section upon the agreement of the Department and 
FAS and/or T&EA.

    Dated: March 1, 2000.
Marc Grossman,
Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 00-6832 Filed 3-16-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-23-P



							  
							  


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