Join WYSE Travel Confederation in the fight to preserve the US J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program

Aug 31, 2017

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration is planning major cuts to US cultural exchange programmes. Five programmes under the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program are being reviewed by a White House-led working group, according to the WSJ source.

The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program brings more than 300,000 youth and student travellers to the US each year. Young travellers can obtain the J-1 visa for summer holiday work, au-pair, camp counsellor, intern and trainee programmes. The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program includes 10 non-employment categories which are not reportedly being scrutinized at this time.

The youth and student travel industry has braced for this news since President Donald Trump announced his “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. The order calls for a review of all US immigration policies and prioritisation of domestic workers.

Following the directive, Michael McCarry, Senior Advisor at CENET and former Executive Director of The Alliance for International Exchange, said, “On a scale of an existential threat with 10 being the most threatening, we are now facing a 10.  What’s going on in Washington is not a discussion about the best way to run the program, but whether we should have the program at all.”

WYSE Travel Confederation has followed these developments and worked closely with our members to bring awareness to the diplomatic and economic benefits of the J-1 visa programme.  Shortly after the Wall Street Journal published their report, WYSE Travel Confederation sent a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“We urge Secretary Tillerson to support the possibility for young people to pursue paths that combine the necessary international cultural exchange and education that lead to global knowledge, skill, and citizenship.  The J1-EVP is an important avenue for cross-cultural understanding, international diplomacy and a foundation for existing reciprocal arrangements between the US and nations around the world,” said David Chapman, Director General, WYSE Travel Confederation.