Regulations Highlights - Summer Work Travel (SWT) Key Employer Responsibilities

1 Dec

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As we head into the arrival season for our winter season SWT program, host companies should remember that the J-1 regulations include specific Employer responsibilities for the arrival period and duration of each J1 program.  Ensuring these are met requires timely and accurate communication between host companies and sponsors.

For Summer Work Travel, the regulations require the host employers notify sponsors when:

·        Participants arrive at the work site (“site of activity”) to begin their J-1 programs.

·        There are changes or deviations in the actual job placement during the program.

·        Participants are not meeting the requirements of their job placement and thus are at risk of being let go.

·        Participants leave their placement before their planned departure or DS-2019 Program End Date.

Host Employers are also required to contact sponsors in the event of any emergency that impacts the health, safety and welfare of J1 participants.

December: month of multi-cultural Celebration!

23 Nov

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December is a month rich in cultural holidays, with many opportunities to learn and share our world’s diversity, present right here in the United States. Here are a few highlights from our global cultures:

Hanukkah For eight days each November or December, Jewish people light a special candleholder called a menorah, to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. On Hanukkah, many Jewish people also eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins. This year, Hanukkah is celebrated December 6 – 14.

St. Lucia Day is on December 13, in Advent. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light. St. Lucy’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy, with each emphasizing a different aspect of the story. Many girls in Sweden dress up as “Lucia brides” in long white gowns with red sashes, and a wreath of burning candles on their heads. They wake up their families by singing songs and bringing them coffee and twisted saffron buns called “Lucia cats.”

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25th as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. People celebrate this Christian holiday by going to church, giving gifts, and sharing the day with their families. In some parts of Europe, “star singers” go caroling — singing special Christmas songs — as they walk behind a huge star on a pole.

Prophet Muhammed’d Birthday Eid Milad ul-Nabi (Mawlid, Milad-un-Nabi) celebrates the Prophet Muhammad’s life. It falls on the 12th or 17th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal. Some Muslims in the United States mark this occasion by fasting or holding communal meals, special prayers or outdoor celebrations.

Kwanzaa which means “First Fruits,” is based on ancient African harvest festivals and celebrates ideals such as family life and unity. During this spiritual holiday, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, millions of African Americans dress in special clothes, decorate their homes with fruits and vegetables, and light a candleholder called a kinara.

WYSTC 2015 – Cape Town, South Africa

31 Oct

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IMG_5232Entering into its 25th year, the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) is the leading trade event for the global youth, student and educational travel industry. Since its inception in 1992 as the annual event of WYSE Travel Confederation youth and student travel professionals have been gathering annually to trade, network and take part in seminars and workshops.

This year, in Cape Town, South Africa, Alliance Abroad Group was named one of the best work experience providers in the industry! While at the conference, we also initiated an incentive to youth volunteers working the event, offering a free internship program to support their future career development.

We are honored to have selected Thato as the award receipient! Thato will begin his internship with the Omni Mt. Washington in December of 2015.

Dia de los Muertos

31 Oct

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Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is a holiday celebrated on November 1. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated.

DiadeLosMuertosDia de los Muertos honors the dead with festivals and lively celebrations, a typically Latin American custom that combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism, brought to the region by Spanish conquistadores. (Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, minor holidays in the Catholic calendar.)

Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.

The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.

If you’ve never experienced a  Dia de lost Muertos event or exhibit, we encourage you to find one and enjoy this cultural celebration in the circle of life.

Recruitment is Open; Now Hiring J-1 Program Participants!

29 Sep

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Now that the J-1 Summer season has come to a complete end, AAG is in full swing, recruiting participants for our Summer Work and Travel, Intern and Trainee programs.

If you are planning to participate in the upcoming  J-1 program seasons, we encourage you to begin your recruitment now. Many of our Host Company placements are currently filling for the Summer Work and Travel winter/spring seasons and believe it or not, we’re already recruiting for summer 2016. The fall is also an ideal time to recruit qualified interns and trainees for a longer term, 6, 12 and 18-month programs. Don’t miss your opportunity to hire the best candidates for your J-1 positions.

For J-1 Summer Work/Travel recruitment please contact – Mike Martorella:

For J-1 Internship and Trainee recruitment please contact – Christy Davidovich:

Important J-1 Regulations Update – Unskilled Occupations

29 Sep

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The Intern and Trainee programs are amazing opportunities for participants to obtain knowledge, skills and competencies that will have direct and lasting benefits for their career.  The key emphasis on these programs in terms of what that looks like on a daily basis is that the training they received is skills-based.  The State Department has provided all sponsors within the regulations a list of “Unskilled Occupations” that are not appropriate for Interns and Trainees to be asked to do or incorporated into their Training/Internship Placement Plans.  We are including the list below, and have highlighted ones that apply to the hospitality field.  If you ever have a question about what is or is not appropriate for your Interns and Trainees to do, please contact us.  We are happy to provide guidance and examples of successful TIPPs for various roles within the hospitality industry.

Appendix E to Part 62—Unskilled Occupations

For purposes of 22 CFR 514.22(c)(1), the following are considered to be “unskilled occupations”:

(1) Assemblers

(2) Attendants, Parking Lot

(3) Attendants (Service Workers such as Personal Services Attendants, Amusement and Recreation Service Attendants)

(4) Automobile Service Station Attendants

(5) Bartenders

(6) Bookkeepers

(7) Caretakers

(8) Cashiers

(9) Charworkers and Cleaners

(10) Chauffeurs and Taxicab Drivers

(11) Cleaners, Hotel and Motel

(12) Clerks, General

(13) Clerks, Hotel

(14) Clerks and Checkers, Grocery Stores

(15) Clerk Typist

(16) Cooks, Short Order

(17) Counter and Fountain Workers

(18) Dining Room Attendants

(19) Electric Truck Operators

(20) Elevator Operators

(21) Floorworkers

(22) Groundskeepers

(23) Guards

(24) Helpers, any industry

(25) Hotel Cleaners

(26) Household Domestic Service Workers

(27) Housekeepers

(28) Janitors

(29) Key Punch Operators

(30) Kitchen Workers

(31) Laborers, Common

(32) Laborers, Farm

(33) Laborers, Mine

(34) Loopers and Toppers

(35) Material Handlers

(36) Nurses’ Aides and Orderlies

(37) Packers, Markers, Bottlers and Related

(38) Porters

(39) Receptionists

(40) Sailors and Deck Hands

(41) Sales Clerks, General

(42) Sewing Machine Operators and Handstitchers

(43) Stock Room and Warehouse Workers

(44) Streetcar and Bus Conductors

(45) Telephone Operators

(46) Truck Drivers and Tractor Drivers

(47) Typist, Lesser Skilled

(48) Ushers, Recreation and Amusement

(49) Yard Workers


Regulation Updates: Summer Work Travel Placement Specifics

31 Aug

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Summer Work Travel Placement Specifics

All sponsors are guided by the Department of State’s regulations protecting acceptable program placements.  For the Summer Work Travel program,  in 62.32 (g)(4) the regulations state that sponsors may only place participants in jobs that:

(a) Are seasonal or temporary

(b) Provide opportunities for regular communication and interaction with U.S. citizens and allow participants to experience U.S. culture.

AAG must evaluate both of these requirements prior to accepting placements on this program.  To help determine seasonality in places it might not be obvious, we’ve created this Seasonality Questionnaire.

These same regulations note that sponsors may NOT place participants in jobs that:

(a) That require licensing;

(b) That are on the program exclusion list (Click here and check out “Program Exclusions.”)

(c) For which there is another specific J visa category.

Ever wondered what other categories of J visas exist?  The list is interesting and encompasses diverse levels of experience, education, and career goals, including but not limited to Professors and Research Scholars, Trainees, Interns, Teachers, Secondary School Students (i.e. High School Exchange), Camp Counselors, Au Pairs and International Visitors.  All enter the U.S. on a J1 visa, then pursue activity according to their specific J1 category.



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