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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register: November 7, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 215)]
[Notices]               
[Page 68808-68809]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07no11-112]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice: 7677]

 
Exchange Visitor Program--Cap on Current Participant Levels and 
Moratorium on New Sponsor Applications for Summer Work Travel Program

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Notice Regarding the Summer Work Travel Program.

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

SUMMARY: Effective January 1, 2012, the Department is restricting the 
size of the Exchange Visitor Program (J-1visa) category of Summer Work 
Travel to 2011 actual participant levels. The Department is also 
announcing, effective immediately, a moratorium on designation of new 
Summer Work Travel sponsor organizations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick A. Ruth, Deputy Assistant 
Secretary, Acting, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State, SA-5, Floor 5, 2200 C Street NW., Washington, DC 
20522-0505; Tel: (202) 632-2805. Email: JExchanges@state.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Summer Work Travel (SWT) program allows 
foreign post-secondary students to come to the United States during 
their major academic break for a

[[Page 68809]]

maximum of four months to travel and work in largely unskilled 
positions. The program has been in operation since 1963 and helps the 
Department reach a segment of the youth demographic that often does not 
have the means to visit the United States unless they can work to 
defray their costs. In 2011, approximately 103,000 foreign students 
will have participated in the SWT program. Roughly one million foreign 
post-secondary students have participated in the past decade. The SWT 
program supports public diplomacy efforts by fostering constructive, 
personal ties with foreign youth and offering them a positive view of 
the United States that they can then share in their home countries.
    The Department began an ongoing, comprehensive review of the Summer 
Work Travel program in spring 2010, which has resulted in significant 
changes to the existing regulations that govern administration of the 
program. A pilot program that placed more stringent requirements on 
participants from six countries (Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Belarus, 
Moldova and Romania) was implemented for the 2011 season. A program-
wide Interim Final Rule, which took effect on July 15, 2011: (a) 
Strengthens sponsor oversight requirements with respect to both program 
participants for whom sponsors are responsible and the third parties 
that sponsors rely upon to assist them in administering their programs 
(i.e., U.S. employers and foreign agents); (b) requires that 
participants from non-Visa Waiver Program countries be pre-placed in a 
job before the Form DS-2019 is issued; (c) requires sponsors to fully 
vet employers and all SWT job offers; and, (d) requires sponsors to 
contact current program participants on a monthly basis to monitor 
their welfare and whereabouts.
    Yet, despite these new regulations, the number of program 
complaints received this year continues to remain unacceptably high and 
includes, among other issues, reports of improper work placements, 
fraudulent job offers, job cancellations upon participant arrival in 
the United States, inappropriate work hours, and problems regarding 
housing and transportation.
    To ensure that these issues are appropriately addressed, the 
Department is continuing and augmenting its review of the Summer Work 
Travel program and its governing regulations. Until the Department 
completes its review and implements the next steps, currently 
designated sponsors may continue to operate under their present 
designations and current regulations at 22 CFR Part 62; however, until 
further notice, SWT program sponsors in business for the full 2011 
calendar year will not be permitted to expand their number of program 
participants beyond their actual total 2011 participant program size. 
No new applications from prospective sponsors for SWT program 
designation will be accepted at this time.

    Dated: October 31, 2011.
Rick A. Ruth,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange, Acting, Bureau 
of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 2011-28810 Filed 11-4-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P


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