On Friday, the State Department released its overhaul of the work-visa program following an investigation into widespread abuses of the program. The Visa in question was the J-1 Summer Travel and Work Program, which allows over 100,000 college students from overseas enter the states every year to work part time jobs.
The latest changes in the program are steps the State Department has taken to make changes to better the program following an investigation that started in 2010. The investigation was able to determine that a number of the participants worked in strip clubs, not always on their own accord, while others lived and worked in conditions similar to indentured servitude.
The J-1 program was created through the Fulbright-Hays Act in 1961. It allows foreign students to work and live for up to four months in the U.S. Its original intention was to foster new cultural understanding, but is now a multimillion-dollar, booming international business.
The State Department said, “Recently the work component too often has overshadowed the cultural component of the program, to be consistent with the Fulbright-Hays Act.”
“Also it became known to the State Department that criminal organizations were using students in incidents of illegally transferring cash, creating fraudulent businesses and violating the laws of immigration.”
The new changes in the rules intend to ensure students are treated correctly and they are hired in jobs where they will fully interact with Americans and be exposed to culture in the U.S. Some of the new rules take effect immediately, while others do not take force until November.