I belong to several au pair groups on social media. This week I have read a lot of concern expressed from international au pairs in our country regarding the recent U.S. presidential election. First, I want to assure you that the J-1 visa program is not in jeopardy. The Trump presidency has not mentioned any intent to discontinue the au pair program. While I have no authority over the Department of State, those of you that hold a valid J-1 visa or any valid visa will not suffer consequences of deportation and criminal persecution…end of story. Take a deep breath.
What could jeopardize the au pair program in the United States? Non compliance with the Department of State guidelines. No matter what agency is sponsoring your J-1 visa, all are governed by the Department of State. The Department of State routinely performs audits of these agencies to ensure compliance. What does this mean? If an Au Pair does not successfully meet the program requirements he/she is not given a certificate of program completion. This is documented with the agency and seen upon Department of State audits. As an au pair, the one thing you could do to help ensure the Au Pair program continues in the future is to be compliant with ALL program requirements. This includes mandatory monthly au pair meetings and the successful completion of the equivalent of 6 credits from a U.S. accredited post secondary institution. As a former LCC for a large au pair agency, I can tell you that LCCs, community counselors, etc. must report each au pair’s compliance every month. Let’s do what we can to ensure the au pair program continues for future generations.
Some of you are worried about the changes that might occur as the result of Trump’s presidency. Honestly, you’re not alone…half of America has anxieties regarding his upcoming term in office that will begin January 20, 2016. No matter who is in the oval office, Americans everywhere still have a voice. Both parties have taken the house, senate, and presidential office in past elections. This is the nature of our democratic republic. It can be a roller coaster. I have seen many positive, hopeful messages for our nation since the election earlier this week. I’m going to keep my faith in our country. No, I’m not moving to Canada. You can find me here in liberal minded Charlottesville still advocating for cultural exchange and peace.