This summer, CIEE is sponsoring nearly 20,000 Work & Travel USA exchange visitors from all over the world. Thank you to our employers for hosting them! As a host employer, you do more than just provide a job; you also facilitate a meaningful cultural exchange experience as cultural ambassadors. This results in memories and friendships that span the globe and last a lifetime. CIEE is proud of our gold-star employers like you!
Next up, the contents of our latest newsletter: While we continue to focus on advocacy, we feel that running strong and consistent programs is imperative to the success and health of CIEE Work & Travel USA. In this newsletter, you will also find information on implementing safety awareness and precautions in your community and workplace. In addition, we provide tools you and your management team can use to facilitate cultural integration amongst your exchange visitors, domestic employees, and guests.
We hope this information will prove useful in welcoming your exchange visitors. If you have any questions now or throughout the summer, please don’t hesitate to contact CIEE. We are always here to help. The CIEE Work & Travel USA program could not be successful without you and the incredible opportunities you offer to these students. Thank you again for your commitment to cultural exchange!
Cara Mills, Director, Employer Relations
Each summer, we welcome thousands of exchange visitors to our country. While there is a lot of focus on the work and cultural exchange components, it is equally important that these exchange visitors are provided with a safe opportunity to live and thrive during their time in the United States. But the effort to ensure the safety of our participants takes a village. Learn how one community and one employer are making it happen:
Cape Cod community
The biggest safety issues on Cape Cod during the summer months are bike and pedestrian safety, as well as safe housing. The entire community comes together to support students in the summer.
Housing and a strong volunteer network
Bike and pedestrian safety
Bike safety is a priority! To view the transportation safety video created in partnership between CIEE, other sponsors, and the U.S. Department of State, please click here. We encourage you to show this video to your exchange visitors.
Morey’s Pier’s, a host employer
Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, begins setting safety expectations before exchange visitors arrive by including travel and safety reminders in their series of welcome emails called Ezines. When students arrive, they receive a handbook that includes further information: tips on bike safety and ocean safety, as well as general tips on staying safe. These tips, in addition to on-the-job safety advice, are also included in a comprehensive training program that every student must complete before starting their job.
As needed, Morey’s Piers provides additional safety reminders, bulletins, and training throughout the season to make sure every student has the tools to stay safe on the job and in the community. “At Morey’s Piers, safety is our culture: the safety of our visiting guests; the safety of our employees while working; and the general health, safety and well-being of the staff while we host them for the summer season. Safety first, always,” says Denise Beckson, Director of Operations/HR at Morey’s Piers, Beachfront Waterparks & Resorts.
As you find yourself engaging with exchange visitors this summer, ask yourself: What can I do to make their time in America safer and more enjoyable? If you need ideas or support, please contact CIEE. We are glad to help you, your community, and your exchange visitors.
By Louisa Creighton-Smith, International Recruitment Consultant, and
Lindsay Marsh, International Recruitment Consultant
INDUSTRY UPDATES: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE SUMMER VISITS, ADVOCACY PROGRESS, OTHER REMINDERS AND UPDATES
U.S. Department of State Summer Site Visits
The U.S. Department of State is again planning to visit participants, host employers, and accommodations throughout the summer with the goal of monitoring the safety and success of the Summer Work Travel program. Department staff may also reach out to you over the phone to ask questions about your students or request further information about student jobs.
This monitoring is a good thing as it allows the U.S. Department of State to see the positive impact the program has in your community. It also provides host employers the opportunity to further champion exchange visitor programs. For these reasons, we kindly ask that you accommodate site visits or requests for further information as best as possible. Please also let us know how the site visits go.
Thank you for your continued support of Work & Travel USA and your partnership with CIEE.
Americans for Cultural Exchange
As the Americans for Cultural Exchange (A4CE) coalition continues to grow – we have more than 900 members across 47 states and Washington, D.C. – our advocacy proves more effective than ever in protecting J-1 exchange programs from harmful proposals and regulations.
To celebrate our upcoming one-year anniversary, we have set the goal of doubling our membership by the end of the year! Help us reach this goal by joining our coalition. Visit our website to learn how.
Recent coalition highlights:
Exchange Visitor Program Directive in FY 2019 Appropriations Bill
The FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which funds the federal government through September, includes a key directive that protects exchange programs. CIEE, the A4CE coalition, and the exchange community have been working to ensure this same directive is included in the FY 2019 bill. In mid-June, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved their respective 2019 State and Foreign Operations Bill, with the Exchange Visitor Program directive included in both bills. This good news means the directive is well on its way to being signed into law for FY 2019.
Exchange Week in the District
CIEE staff and employers participated in the Alliance for International Exchange’s first Exchange Week in the District, an initiative to meet with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during an in-district working week in May. We had positive meetings with district staff members in Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina, and look forward to expanding our reach next year.
Based on our read of the new tax law, Summer Work Travel exchange visitors are required to pay taxes but will likely receive much lower (perhaps zero) tax refunds from 2018 and on. They are still obligated to file their taxes. CIEE is working on participant messaging and further guidance for host employers, but we wanted you to be aware of this coming change.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became enforceable on May 25, 2018. This regulation standardizes data protection laws and processing across the European Union. CIEE is committed to GDPR and will continue to move toward compliance across all our business units, including SWT. We will keep you informed of any internal policy changes that affect business processes in regards to host employers.
By Sarah Goodman, Manager, Compliance & Policy, and
Erica Carley Harris, Manager, Government & Public Affairs
One of the many benefits of Work and Travel USA is that it brings the world to your community, giving you, your guests, your domestic staff, and your exchange visitors the chance to exchange cultures. The resources below will help you make the most of this opportunity.
Before your exchange visitors arrive:
Throughout the summer:
To keep exchange visitors and domestic staff engaged throughout the summer, post the calendar you received from CIEE and add important community events such as:
Facilitate cultural exchange by encouraging your students to share their culture and customs. A few examples to get you started:
Continue to train your supervisors:
We hope the steps above will contribute to another successful summer season. Remember to send your stories and photos to email@example.com. We’re especially interested in hearing from employers who’ve developed their own icebreakers or welcome events. Share your successes with the rest of us!
For additional resources, please visit Knowledge Base In-Country Support or review previous Toolkit articles.
By Andrei Bazaiac, International Recruitment Consultant