วันทื่ 13 ธันวาคม 2554
โครงการ Work and Travel USA ประสบปัญหาซะแล้ว
จากที่ได้เดินทางไปนำเสนอที่การประชุม International Conference on South East Asia (ICONSEA 2011) ที่ University of Malaya และบังเอิญได้อ่านหนังสือพิมพ์ New Straits Times ฉบับวันที่ 7 ธันวาคม 2554 เป็นเรื่องเกี่ยวกับโครงการ Work and Travel USA ซี่งมีนักศึกษามอ.ปัตตานี ชอบสมัครไปทำงานที่สหรัฐอเมริกาในช่วงปิดภาคการศึกษา และขณะนี้โครงการนี้เริ่มมีปัญหาแล้ว อยากให้อ่านข้อความจากหนังสือพิมพ์ฉบับดังกล่าว ผมว่าน่าสนใจมาก ฝากเตือนนักศึกษาของมอ.เราด้วยครับ
New Straits Times (December 7, 2011)
US orders review of student exchange scheme
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered an “extensive and thorough review” of a foreign exchange program that has been used by US business as a source of cheap labor and exploited by criminals to import women to work in the sex industry.
In the latest debate for the J-1 Summer Work Travel visa, a federal indictment unsealed last week accuses that mafia of using the cultural exchange program to bring Eastern European women to work in New York strip clubs.
The US House Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee also has been gathering information on the J-1 visa, which was created in 1963 to allow college students from other countries to spend their summer breaks living, working and travelling in the US.
As the program brings more than 100,000 young people here annually, it has become as much about money as cultural understanding.
The State Department has made several changes since an investigation last year uncovered widespread abuses, including living and working conditions that some participants compared with indentured servitude.
In one of the worst cases, a woman said she was beaten, raped and forced to work as a stripper in Detroit after being promised a job as a waitress in Virginia.
In August, dozens of workers protested conditions at a candy factory that packs Hershey chocolates in Hershey, Pennsylvania, complaining of hard physical labor and pay deductions for rent that left them with little money.
A State Department spokesman said Clinton “has called for an extensive and thorough review of the program”.
The New York case was made public just days after the State Department opened a period of public comment on proposed changes that would require companies that sponsor the participants to gather more information about employment and living arrangements.
The reform being considered by the State Department would limit and refine the types of jobs students can have, expand the list of prohibited employment categories, and strengthen “the cultural aspects of the program to ensure that the objective of the program-positive exposure to the United States-is accomplished.”
Most of the abuses in the J-1 program over the years have been blamed on unregulated, third-party labour brokers who work with the students.
The State Department last month said it had temporarily stopped accepting any new sponsors and will limit the number of future participants to about 103,000 students.
Under the J-1 program, students are granted visas for up to four months and jobs at hotels, resorts and restaurants.
Participation has boomed from 20,000 students in 1996 to a more than 150,000 in 2008.
The students come from around the world, with some of the top participating countries being Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, Thailand, Ireland, Bulgaria, Peru, Moldova and Poland. AP