Exchange Visitor Program

A proposed rule with request for comment with regard to the Department of State Exchange Visitor Program secondary school category appeared in this morning's Federal Register: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-10168.htm

This a far-reaching and carefully drawn rule--a few key points from this morning's initial read:

- The comment period is 30 days, so comments are due on June 2;

- The Department intends the rule to take effect for the 2011/2012 school year;

Sher Bano, a 17-year-old Pashtun Pakistani participant in the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program in Evanston, IL, used her exchange experience in the United States as an opportunity to increase cross-cultural communication and understanding:

One of my American friends once asked me if I traveled by camel in Pakistan. Needless to say, my answer was no. But Americans should know more about life in Pakistan than just this. Pakistanis as a whole are democratic, progressive and mostly secular in their attitudes.

Iraqi government officials announced the start of a program to provide scholarships to Iraqi students for study at universities in the United States and Britain, reports InsideHigherEd.com. While the initial plans for this program called for 10,000 scholarships to be awarded per year, for five years, it will initially proceed more modestly:

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Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter last Friday to Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), urging Orszag to move forward Subpart A of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations. A revised version of Subpart A, the general provisions of State’s EVP regulations, requires OMB review and approval before being published in the Federal Register.

According to Casey’s letter, provisions within Subpart A would mandate State Department compliance audits of high school exchange programs, thus strengthening State’s oversight.

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As a reminder, the below notice on Exchange Visitor Program annual reports appeared in the Federal Register on May 26. Please note that comments are due to the State Department by July 15. To assist in preparing a formal comment from the Alliance, we encourage sponsors to forward their thoughts to us for inclusion by June 30.

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The below notice on Exchange Visitor Program annual reports appeared in the Federal Register on May 26. There is a 60-day comment period. To assist in preparing a formal comment from the Alliance, we encourage sponsors to forward their thoughts to us for inclusion as soon as possible.

Full text available to Alliance Members. Please use the "Member Log In" form on the left.

The origins of au pairs in the United States shift along with fluctuations in the global labor market, the Wall Street Journal hypothesized today. When employment conditions in their own countries improve, potential au pairs tend to find work at home; however, when job prospects worsen, they are more likely to look for child care employment in the United States. For example:

When the U.S. State Department launched its au pair program in 1986, British nannies…were its bread and jam, alongside the French, Germans and Swedes. But then opportunities in their home countries improved, and child care grew less desirable as a profession for young women (only a handful of au pair workers are men).

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The Department of State issued today the 2009 Revised Exchange Visitor Skills List in the Federal Register, available on the Alliance website (in PDF format—username: polmonitor; password: education).  The Revised Skills List is effective on June 28, 2009.

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The Wall Street Journal reported on March 27 that the U.S. government is actively discouraging the recruitment of foreign employees, not only skilled workers on H1-B visas but also seasonal employees:

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Today’s Federal Register includes a notice regarding the interim final rule published by the State Department on June 19, 2008, to revise existing regulations and thereby permit qualified au pairs to participate again in the au pair program after completing a period of at least two years of residency outside the United States following the end date of his or her initial exchange visitor program. The regulations contained in this interim final rule are adopted without change effective today.

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