Rights, Protections & Expectations
InterExchange makes it a priority to ensure that all our participants enjoy a safe, healthy and well-monitored cultural exchange experience in the U.S.
The following information describes a baseline for conduct that our participants can expect from InterExchange and their hosts as well as their own responsibilities during their visits to the United States through InterExchange programs. We’re happy to say that the majority of our participants and hosts regularly make an extra effort beyond these standards to create a truly memorable, life-changing cultural exchange experience for everyone involved.
During Their Programs, InterExchange Participants Can Expect:
- A safe, healthy and legal work environment.
- A safe, healthy and legal living situation.
- Opportunities to interact with Americans on a regular basis.
- Protection of their legal rights under United States immigrant, labor, and employment laws.
- Fair treatment and payment practices.
- Right to keep passport and other documents in their possession.
- Right to report abuse without retaliation.
- Right to contact the BridgeUSA Emergency Helpline of the U.S. Department of State.
- Right not to be held in a job against their will.
- Right to end their programs and return to their home countries.
- Right to request help from unions, labor rights groups and other groups.
- Right to seek justice in U.S. courts if warranted.
Participants Can Also Expect the Following Support From InterExchange Throughout Their Programs:
- Emergency assistance 24 hours every day.
- Serving as a reliable resource for general information.
- Resources and guidance to help them engage in cultural learning and American daily life.
- At a minimum, monthly contact and monitoring.
- Vetting and conducting due diligence to verify each host employer.
- Available staff with extensive international experience and language skills.
- Available staff who can provide support for special situations if needed.
- Acting as a neutral advocate to help resolve any disputes that occur.
- Accident and Sickness insurance that meets or exceeds J-1 Visa regulatory requirements.
Participants in Our Programs Acknowledge That:
- The primary purpose of InterExchange cultural exchange programs is to interact with U.S. citizens, practice the English language, travel and experience U.S. culture while sharing their culture with Americans.
- They will abide by the laws of the United States.
- They will abide by all rules and regulations applicable to U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor programs.
- They have not come on a J-1 Visa program seeking permanent residency or employment in the U.S.
- They are expected to follow the guidelines of employment provided by their host employer.
- InterExchange is their visa sponsor. A U.S. host employer or host family is not a visa sponsor.
- Any wages earned during the programs are only meant to help defray living expenses during the programs. Earning money is not the primary purpose of cultural exchange programs.
- Host employers and families may terminate their employment relationship with participants.
- Host employers and families do not have the authority to cancel the J-1 Visa. Only the U.S. Government or InterExchange has that authority.
- They must contact InterExchange in the event of an emergency or if any problems occur during the program.
- They will respond to all requests and inquiries sent from InterExchange.
- They are required to leave the United States at the end of their programs.
Know Your Rights
Fair Labor Standards Act
Summer Work Travel program regulations require that participants are compensated at the higher of the applicable Federal, State, or Local Minimum Wage (including overtime); or Pay and benefits commensurate with those offered to their similarly situated U.S. counterparts.
As of July 24, 2009 the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage was set at $7.25 per hour. Where state law requires a higher minimum wage, the higher standard applies. Employers try to keep costs for housing and/or food as low as possible.
If you work over 40 hours per week, you may be entitled to overtime wages. Some states require the payment of overtime wages and some do not. Please ask your employer if you have any questions regarding overtime pay. If you have a problem with an employer because of underpaid or unpaid wages, or unfair termination of employment, please call InterExchange and we will help put you in contact with the Department of Labor for the state you are living in. The Department of Labor in your state will instruct you how to file a claim against your employer. InterExchange will provide you with assistance and/or any letters you may need for completing a claim form.
Review this informational pamphlet describing your rights while working in the United States.The U.S. government created this pamphlet at the prompting of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (Public Law 110-457), which reaffirms and strengthens the U.S. government’s commitment to fight human trafficking and labor abuses in all their forms.
Among other protections, you have the right to:
- Be treated and paid fairly
- Not be held in a job against your will
- Keep your passport and other identification documents in your possession
- Report abuse without retaliation
- Request help from unions, immigrant, and labor rights groups and other groups
- Seek justice in U.S. courts
- For your safety, know the signs of human trafficking to make sure you don’t become a victim