Students wishing to travel to the USA this summer to participate in the J-1 Summer Work Travel (SWT) Programme should be aware of an important policy change this year says Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton. All students applying for a visa under the scheme will now be required to have a pre-arranged job vetted and approved prior to travelling in 2016.
“This is a significant change which is being introduced this year and I would advise students wishing to participate on this scheme to be proactive and begin the process of searching for work as early as possible. While the pre-arranged job requirement has been in place for students from other countries since 2012, this year it is being applied to all students on the J-1 SWT programme, including those from visa waiver countries.
“The J-1 SWT programme was first introduced in 1966 and approximately 150,000 Irish students have availed of the US visa programme since then. I understand that the aim of the pre-approved employment is to enhance the experience for students on the programme by removing the stress, uncertainty, and cost of securing employment and accommodation on arrival in the US.
“I am advised that the US government intends to work actively with J-1 SWT applicants, Irish Government representatives and independent US and Irish implementing institutions to ensure Irish students continue to benefit from the programme. The two largest independent US J-1 sponsors, CIEE and InterExchange, offer a step-by-step guide to pre-placement and the application process at www.J12016.com and I would urge all prospective applicants to visit this site.
“The US Embassy in Dublin also has information on their website http://dublin.usembassy.gov/swt.html and are also inviting any student with any queries on the new policy to make contact with them via email at J1SWTDublin@state.gov