Au Pairs Under Pressure As They Fear Losing J-1 Visas
American Nannies vs Foreign Au Pair
Many parents use au pairs as a way to save money for jobs they just don’t have time for or can’t take on themselves, such as taking care of children or housework. This is both good for the family and the au pair because usually in return for assistance, the foreign worker is allowed to live in the host family’s house and also receives a monetary allowance for personal use.
The purpose of a J-1 visa isn’t just so that anyone can come work here. It is so that individuals can appreciate the U.S. culture and home and share their experiences with others when they return. Many opponents see it as a way that is often abused for cheap labor. Many of these positions are jobs that the American youth have once done and are still capable of doing. However, foreigners are willing to do this job for cheaper.
“Mostly cost and flexibility. And for us, a nanny for three kids, you’re looking at 30 to 40 bucks an hour” said Oakland resident Melissa Hernandez. Hernandez works a job and also has three triplet boys that need to be cared for. She says she can not imagine her life without her au pair Alex Nagel.
Another busy working mother, Amy Owens, fears that all benefits may be in danger after receiving an email from the agency that sponsors her au pair saying that “Trump administration is planning to eliminate the Au Pair Program.”
People need answers. However, the State Department declined to respond to questions about the future of the program, and the White House did not reply to requests for comment. Not only are families and au pairs being affected by this, but also summer workers and camps/camp counselors. According to State Department data, in 2016, 19,233 au pairs, 101,061 summer employees, and 22,994 camp counselors worked in the United States.
Places like Ocean City during the summer where the population skyrockets, really can’t afford to have foreigners lose their J-1 visas. There just aren’t enough young people in proximity to fill all the jobs needed. Ocean City does not stand alone. Responses to a recent survey show that nearly 93 percent of businesses said they would be negatively affected if they could not hire workers on J-1 visas. 95 percent stated that they first look to hire qualified American workers.
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