Department of State Announces Inspections of Summer Work Travel Program
On September 23, 2011, the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced it would conduct on-site reviews of sponsors in the Summer Work Travel Program to evaluate regulatory compliance with the regulations set out in 22 C.F.R. Part 62.
The Department of State will conduct on-site reviews of the largest program sponsors to monitor performance, assess regulatory compliance, consult regarding implementation of the interim final rules. Based on previous inspections, the Department of State will not visit sponsors based solely on the size of the program, but will conduct compliance reviews on designated sponsors whose previous compliance deserves examination.
Out of the 51 designated Summer Work Travel programs, 14 sponsor have been identified as a part of the compliance review. The programs account for 65% of Summer Work Travel program participants.
The reviews will focus on whether the sponsors have complied with the Pilot Program guidelines and participant monitoring requirements, maintenance of accurate SEVIS records, and sponsors' relationships with third parties they have engaged to assist in carrying out the core programmatic functions inherent in the administration of exchange visitor programs. Other inquiries will include sponsors' roles in assisting participants in finding suitable housing; decision-making processes (including the numbers of participants accepted); self- imposed compliance mechanisms; procedures for handling student participant problems (including finding new jobs for those whose pre- arranged placements were unsatisfactory); and policies for refunding deposits or payments to student participants.
The Department of State will use the reviews as an opportunity to receive feedback from sponsors regarding the interim rules and utilize the feedback for implementation of final rules.
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