J-1 Visa Update

ACA is monitoring current developments related to the Summer Work Travel and Camp Counselor categories of the J-1 Visa.

2018 Public Policy Update: J-1 Visas, CPIA, Camps on Federal Lands

J-1 Visas — Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel Programs

  • In March, ACA’s volunteer leadership traveled to Washington for discussions with top State Department staff about the necessity of J-1 Visa participants for America’s camps. The quality cultural exchange experiences for camps and the J-1 Visa participants are always a top priority for State Department officials.

President Signs Executive Order That Helps Camps Using Public Lands

On May 25, President Trump signed into law an exemption from Executive Order (EO) 13658 for Recreational Services on Public Lands, which will greatly help camps that operate on federal lands. EO 13658, signed in 2014, established a higher minimum wage and overtime requirement for federal contractors and permit holders.  Many camps partner with the US Forest Service and the National Park Service as outfitter-guides. Camp programs teach young people “Leave No Trace” skills and inspire respect for public lands.

Child Protection Improvements Act Becomes Law

On Friday, March 23, President Trump signed the omnibus spending package, which included provisions for the Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA). The new law enables organizations serving vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities to conduct fast, accurate, and affordable FBI background checks on prospective volunteers and employees. Prior to this law being passed, more than one-third of states do not have access to FBI background checks.

ACA Adopts Two Public Policy Position Statements

On the recommendation of the ACA Government Relations Committee, in November 2017, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors adopted two new position statements advocating for tax reform.

Fair Labor Standards Act Update

Just days before new regulations concerning the "white collar" overtime exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were set to become law, a federal judge halted the intended actions of the US Department of Labor (DOL). On November 22, 2016, a Texas federal judge issued a preliminary nationwide injunction on all employers blocking the DOL from implementing the new exemptions rule, known as the FLSA overtime rule. That proposed rule would have raised the minimum salary required for most white-collar exemptions from approximately $23,660 to $47,476 on an annualized basis.

Visas for International Staff and Campers

Annually, nearly 30,000 international students provide cultural exchange as staff at camps in the United States.  International campers also provide an important aspect of cultural exchange as they live side-by-side in US camps with American campers.  The US Department of State regulates the granting of Visas for both staff and campers.  

International Camp Staff

All international visitors to the United States travel on visas.  Generally, international camp staff travel on a J-1 cultural exchange visa.  

Testimonials on the Value of Camp Cultural Exchange Programs

Camp has always been a unique developmental environment that weaves global citizenship with other outcomes such as critical thinking skills, leadership, and character development.

Summer Fun for Youth of All Abilities

With summer approaching, parents and camps alike are making plans for terrific, fun opportunities for young campers to learn new skills and grow in their confidence and abilities. The United States Attorney’s Office wants to take the opportunity to increase the understanding of camp organizers and parents about the law that pertains to camps which ensures that all children are welcome, including those with disabilities, and has been sharing the following information in many states.  

The FLSA, Overtime, and Camps: Finding a Path to Compliance

On May 18 of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) revealed its new regulations concerning the "white collar" overtime exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The changes, as expected, are dramatic from a cost perspective, more than doubling the minimum salary required for most of the white collar exemptions from approximately $23,660 to $47,476, on an annualized basis.

Pages