The summer of 2010 found scores of International Students arriving on our shores in Ocean City Md and Coastal Delaware ( Via Greyhound Bus ) from New York City airports.. There were 3,786 j1 Visa students in total according to the US State Dept Visa Stats.. Most of them were 1st or 2nd year University Students from their home country and were traveling abroad for the 1st time in their lives. Many were arriving with a minimum of funds, expecting to go to work immediately for their job sponsors and begin earning income to support themselves and save for future needs. Students were arriving from the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Muldova, Bulgaria, Ireland, Slovakia, Macedonia, and probably a few other countries not noted here. A large percentage of these students were arriving with “job offer” in hand from an Ocean City MD or Coastal Delaware employer, confident they would be ok and have almost immediate work and income.
The TRUTH is that many of these JOB OFFERS WERE FALSE / FAKE documents. Who is responsible for generating these false job offers? These would be the exchange organizations accredited by the US government, known as program sponsors. A list of currently approved sponsors can be found here .. http://eca.state.gov/jexchanges/index.cfm?fuseaction=record.list&cat=12 . Fake Job offers are provided to students either knowingly or unknowingly. Many students arrived in Ocean City MD believing their job offer was valid. Some that i encountered during the summer admitted that they were knowledgeable in the fact that their job offer was fake, but took the risk anyway believing they would otherwise find a job upon arrival.
To compound the issue, in addition to these legal J1 Visa students, Ocean City MD was experiencing a large influx of international students who are here on Student Visas and attend Universities in the USA .. These students are generally NOT PERMITTED to work in the USA unless their Sponsor grants them specific Visa Permission. I doubt many if any had these necessary work permits in hand , but were hired anyway by Ocean City MD employers, thereby eliminating MUCH NEEDED jobs for the thousands of yet to arrive Interntional Students from Europe. If a J1 Visa holder is a student, they are generally not able to work off campus, subject to the following guidelines:
“Employment may be off-campus only if the student is in serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status. The employment cannot total more than 20 hours per week except during official school breaks and during the student’s annual vacation. Students must continue a full course of study except for official school breaks and the student’s annual vacation. The responsible officer at the student’s designated sponsor organization must approve the employment in advance and in writing. Approval may be valid for up to 12 months, but is automatically withdrawn if the student’s program is terminated.”
THE CONSEQUENCES: 1. Huge oversupply of students arriving in Ocean City Md and Coastal Delaware relative to the actual number of jobs available. 2. A large shortage of student housing forcing many to live in overcrowded living conditions in rented condos and homes. 3. May students after arrival within weeks, returning to their Home Country due to lack of employment or adequate housing, thereby losing their initial investment cost usually in the area of $2,000 for fees, sponsor costs and airfare. This situation causes major stress amongst students, their parents in homeland countries and surely can be avoided or minimized?
THE FIX: Well – we shall see how it goes. The news that I have is the US Dept of State regulations have been modified to require that Russian students MUST have job placements prior to receiving their J-1 visa status. Duh !!!! At this moment, I fail to see how this will remedy the situation. Every student I met this past summer who arrived to discover the job was non existent ” DID ALREADY HAVE” a job placement. The ISSUE was that the Job Offer was either false or WAS NOT HONORED by the employer. There in my mind are inexpensive ways to remedy this via internet technology. We in fact I believe could accomplish this for the US State Dept but of course it’s unlikely they would approach us for a solution?
Stay tuned – We will continue this thread during the coming 2011 summer J-1 Summer Work and travel program experience in Ocean City Md and Coastal Delaware Communities. Any input or comment is surely invited . Let me here from you ! ..
In the MEANTIME .. CHECK OUR INTERNATIONAL j1 visa work and travel STUDENT PAGES .. to be updated soon with more relevant photos, facts, etc ..