72 Fed. Reg. 31008 (June 5, 2007)
The Department of State is proposing to amend its J-1 exchange visitor regulations, by creating a new "Student Intern" subcategory under the College and University Student category (note: This proposed rule is different than the "Trainee Intern" rule that DOS is about to publish as an Interim Final Rule).
June 6, 2007
Comments on the proposed rule are due August 6, 2007.
Read NAFSA’s comment to the Student Intern proposed rule
- Participation in the new sub-category would be open only to foreign students enrolled and pursuing full-time studies at a degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary educational institution outside the United States, and for whom participation in the internship program "will fulfill the educational objectives for their current degree program at their home institution." Student interns must also "return to the academic program in the educational institution abroad after completion of the student internship program to fulfill a degree requirement."
- Interns must also have a level of English language ability adequate for their internship, and that ability must be "verified by a recognized English language test, by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or through an interview conducted by the sponsor or a third party in-person, by videoconference, or by web camera."
- The student intern must be in good academic standing with their home institution, and must return to their academic program at their home institution abroad after completing the internship program "to fulfill a degree requirement."
Duration of Participation. Student interns could participate in a student internship program "for up to 12 months for each degree/major."
Sponsor Obligations. For each student intern:
- Sponsors must "accept" the student to participate in its student internship program.
- Sponsors must secure placements for student interns before issuing a Form DS-2019.
- Sponsors will have to complete a detailed Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) on a new Form DS-7002 before issuing a Form DS-2019.
- Sponsors must develop procedures for evaluating all student interns. Evaluations must be completed prior to the conclusion of the internship. For programs lasting more than six months, sponsors must conduct both a midpoint as well as a concluding evaluation. The evaluations must then be kept by the sponsor for at least three years following the completion of each student's internship.
Activities Allowed and Prohibited
- Participants must engage in a full-time (at least 32 hours per week) structured and guided work-based internship program in their specific academic field.
- The internship must expose participants "to American techniques, methodologies, and technology and expand[s] upon the participants' existing knowledge and skills. Programs must not duplicate the student intern's prior experience."
- A student intern can engage in full-time employment as outlined in their T/IPP, with or without wages or other compensation.
- Sponsors may not place student interns in: unskilled or casual labor positions, positions that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department of State into notoriety or disrepute, positions in the field of aviation, positions that require or involve child care (including early childhood education) or elder care, positions that involve clinical work (including but not limited to veterinary medicine, sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, social work, speech therapy) or any kind of patient care or contact, or in positions that involve more than 20 per cent clerical work. Also, all "Hospitality and Tourism" internship programs of six months or longer must contain at least three departmental or functional rotations.
- The positions that interns fill cannot displace "full- or part-time American workers or serve to fill a labor need"
- The positions that interns fill must "exist solely to assist student interns in achieving the objectives of their participation in student internship programs."
Use of Third Parties. Sponsors would be required to screen and vet all third parties, including:
- Obtaining the third party's Dun & Bradstreet identification number (unless the third party is an academic institution, government entity, or family farm), and the third party's Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Verifying the third party's contact information, location, professional activity, and insurance coverage.
- Conduct site visits of “host organizations that have not previously participated successfully in the sponsor's student internship programs and that have fewer than 25 employees or less than three million dollars in annual revenue.” Placements at academic institutions, and local, state, and federal government offices are specifically exempted from the site visit requirement.
- Enter into a written agreement outlining the full relationship between the parties.