Myself and our Responsible Officer, Scott Curry, have just spent a good week in Washington DC at the Alliance for International Exchange’s annual meeting.
During this time we also took the opportunity to meet with government officials along with other J-1 sponsors. It was basically like the Justice League of international staffing assembling (I wish I could photoshop us, Camp America, CCUSA and Interexchange onto this!).
There has been much collaboration between the sponsors, The Department of State, The Alliance and The ACA. Here is what I can give you from our meeting.
- Confirmation that in August a memo was circulated in the BAHA committee recommending the elimination of the 5 J-1 Visa Programs including Camp Counselor
- There is NO GUARANTEE AT ALL that any program changes will follow full legislative process and will not be an executive order.
- State dept confirmation that since our advocacy effort, Camp Counselor category has not been discussed with them (but others have).
- The Expansion freeze J-1 Visas that was added at the Start of Oct is meant as a temporary measure but is still in place.
- The general feeling is that the programs most under threat are the Intern and Work and Travel categories
- Our advocacy work is a huge part of why we have heard nothing else from the White House
So what next? We will continue our advocacy work. This year work and travel sponsors paid for this Eurekafacts survey to provide tangible evidence of that program. We are discussing the prospects of whether a similar one is viable for Camp Counselor which would of course be 100% reliant on your participation so watch this space.
As always please be aware of communication not from designated J-1 Sponsors. Please always contact the ACA or your J-1 Sponsor, not third party, for accurate up to date information.
Despite information which you may have heard, the threat is still here.
To quote Kevin Saba, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange (the person currently in charge at the ECA in layman’s terms), yesterday he told us
“I don’t know if we are out of the woods yet, I don’t think so”.
Thanks for your support!