We have just learned that there will be a hearing this Tuesday, February 20, 2018, before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee on a bill that would turn all privately funded exchange programs that have a work component into work programs regulated by Maryland. More importantly, the bills would shift fees away from participants. This would have the adverse effect of tying participants to employers for the first time. It would also make it impossible for us to administer these programs, which means most of them would no longer be available in Maryland if this bill is enacted.
What does this mean to employers? It means Sponsors or agencies would not be allowed to charge ANY fees to international J-1 Camp Counselors or Work and Travel exchange visitors. This would possibly include the cost of flights as well as program fees.
The effect of this would 2 fold. All fees would be passed on to the employer and the international exchange visitor would have zero financial commitment in the transaction. Imagine an exchange visitor registering with multiple organizations, accepting multiple job offers and deciding which he or she wants a couple of weeks before the summer?!?!
The Alliance for International Exchange is organizing a group letter to Maryland legislators. The sign on deadline is tomorrow Friday, February 16 at 4:00 PM. We apologize about the quick turn around, but it is necessary given the timing of the Tuesday hearing. Please also see this fact sheet.
To join the letter, please email Andrea Bodine at email@example.com. Provide your name, title, and organizational affiliation. If you have questions, please contact the Alliance directly at 202-293-6141.