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