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J-1 – Exchange Visitor Programme – Summer Work and Travel

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Are you looking for more information on why the proposed immigration reform in its current state would mean the end of the Summer Work & Travel (SWT) programmes and why WYSE Work and Volunteer Abroad along with many industry voices is concerned and calls for action?

We have compiled information on the programme’s economic and cultural impact, a number of industry and media voices supporting the programme, and an overview of how you can take action.

About the J-1 visa programme

Created by the U.S. Department of State to foster international understanding, the J-1 visa programme provides opportunities for highly educated foreign employees and students to visit the United States for on-the-job training and cultural education. It has been a successful component of American public diplomacy for more than 50 years.

All J-1 visa programme participants are in the United States temporarily and must demonstrate an intention to return abroad at the end of their exchange programme. Their experience in the United States is solely for the purpose of exposing them to American techniques, methodologies and expertise and to better gain an understanding of American culture and society. You can find more information about the programme here.

Economic and cultural impact

Data derived from the WYSE Travel Confederation New Horizons III Survey

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The United States of America are by far the most popular destination with over 42% of respondents who had travelled for work experience having done so in the USA.

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The research demonstrates that work experience travellers bring in more money than they earn in a country. In fact, three quarters of the funds young people use when travelling come from a combination of income earned before departure, their own savings or contributions from their own family, with only 12% of funds coming from money earned while travelling.

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The average spending is greater than travellers generally. The bulk of travellers’ spending goes directly to local businesses and municipalities, with funds are spent in the host community and  through an extended period of travel, predominantly on accommodation, food & drink, activities and entertainment (with programme fees only representing 18% of total spend).

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The desire to ‘increase my knowledge’‘explore other cultures’, ‘experience life in another country’, ‘interact with local people’ and ‘build friendships’ were the top five factors chosen. Such motivations were even more common for work experience participants than for travellers generally.

Industry voices

WYSE Travel Confederation

Concern that US may be turning its back on youth diplomacy efforts
Research shows the economic and social value of the United States’ J-1 visa programme
J-1 Visa Update

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Employers oppose J-1 reform

STM

 

Fears over U.S. J-1 Exchange programme

PieNewsUS immigration bill: J-1 work-travel scheme at risk
US Senate passes immigration reform bill

 

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US calls for feedback on conditional admissions policy by 7 June
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Irish politician urges US Congressman to prevent prevent costly changes to J-1 student visa

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Reform Bill – Impact on EVP – May 2013

 

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Raise Your Voice

If you would also like to share an article, please email us

What can you do?

If you are from an organisation outside the United States that sends programme participants to the US

The most powerful international voice on this issue is your country’s Ambassador to the U.S.

Ask your country’s Ambassador to contact the Department of State and ask them to urgently act to preserve these important programmes. You may also wish to contact Secretary of State John Kerry, listed below.

If you are based in the United States

Letters should be written to the following people, urging them to remove the language in the bill related to Exchange Visitors and preserve the future of the Exchange Visitor Programme:

  • Secretary of State John Kerry, web form, main switchboard (202) 647-4000
  • Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, web form, DC office (202) 224-4242, VT 1-800-642-3193
  • Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, web form, DC office (202) 224-4744, NJ (856) 757-5353
  • Senator Bob Corker, web form. DC office: (202) 224-3344. TN office: (423) 756-2757
  • Senator Ben Cardin, web form. DC office: (202) 224-4524. MD office: (410) 962-4436
  • Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (responds only to residents of District 39)