The J-1 Visa's Summer Work Travel: The Hershey Exploitation and Reform 2011
Toshach, Marjorie Rose
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For over fifty years, the United States of America has invited thousands of foreign students to explore the United States through the Summer Work Travel program that is part of the J-1 cultural exchange visa. This SWT program has proven beneficial to multiple employers across the country. However, over the years, efforts to monitor and maintain the program's competency with fair labor standards had become dramatically ignored and by 2011, the program had fallen into a state of exploitation and abuse. In this broken state, hundreds of foreign students acted against the advice of their managers, sponsors, and international staffing agents, to expose to the American public the poor working conditions of the SWT workers in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This action forced the government party responsible for monitoring the program, the Department of State, to quickly intervene and implement modifications and new regulations for the SWT program. Despite the immediate corrections and new potential, questions still arise as to whether the efforts led by the Department of State are enough to maintain the program's competency through the upcoming years.