Full refund offered to students to withdraw from U.S. job program - Focus Taiwan

Full refund offered to students to withdraw from U.S. job program

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) The Taiwanese agent working with the Council for Educational Travel, USA, (Cetusa) to authorize summer job visas to the United States said Friday it will offer full refunds to students who want to withdraw from the program in the wake of a scandal related to the U.S. nonprofit group.

According to foreign media reports, the U.S. State Department recentlybanned Cetusa from bringing foreign students to the United States to work for the summer after many students who participated in the program last year filed complaints that they were abused. The ban took effect on Jan. 30.

The Taiwanese agent for Cetusa said around 50 to 60 students had paid a visa application fee of NT$5,000 (US$169.45) at the time the ban was imposed.

The agent has sent out letters to inform students of the problem and said it would seek alternative solutions for those still wishing to participate.

In August 2011, hundreds of students placed by Cetusa in a Hershey's chocolate factory in Pennsylvania for the summer protested their low pay and poor working conditions, sparking an investigation of Cetusa by the U.S. State Department, according to the New York Times.

The program, which was started in 1963, enables more than 100,000 college students to work in America every year on a J-1 visa, a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to promote cultural exchanges.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Maia Huang) enditem/ls

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