The advertising by USIT referred to the following:
“LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
BOOK NOW AND BE IN A (Sic) CHANCE TO WIN A TABLET
LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
Once they’re gone, they’re gone!
The flexible 1 year Work USA Programme which allows you to find work after you arrive in the United States!
Deposit now only €249
Travel 30 days before your work papers start, and 30 days after it finishes
Travel one way
Hurry limited places available for 2014
We accept all degrees (Inc. Social Science, Arts & Culture etc.)
Book on(Sic) in July and be in with a draw to win an Android Tablet
The 1 year Work USA Work Programme agreed between the governments of Ireland and the United States is open to full time and part time students and recent graduates (within 12 months)!
Get a true insight into the American way of life first hand, while gaining real experience from an American Employer! The programme gives full-time students, undergraduates, post-graduates and recent graduates an opportunity to work in a job in the USA for 1 year and allows you the flexibility to search for a job after you arrive in the US. And remember you can work in any of the 50 US States you wish!
Ask us about our long term accommodation.
Visit www.usavisa.ie for more info or email me …or call me directly on … to get started today!”
The complainant considered that the advertisement was misleading, as it referred to a “1 year work programme” and “opportunity to work in a job” whereas in fact what was on offer was an Internship Visa. She said that while those who held Work Visas could find paid work within their area of study, the majority of internships were unpaid and those who held Internship Visas could only work in entry level positions.
The advertisers said the One Year Work USA Programme they advertised in their newsletter was the Intern Work & Travel Pilot Program (IWT Program) operated by the US Department of State. While the advertisement did not state that only Internship placements could be sourced while participating on the program, all applicants were aware of this fact before they submitted their application. They said the following information was made available on the frequently answered questions(FAQ’s) section of their website:
“Does the position in the US have to be an Internship placement?
Yes, your placement in the US must be an Internship. It cannot be replacing American workers or filling a general labour need. Below are some things you need to keep in mind when you secure a position in the US:
1. The position is related to your field of study - i.e. what you studied in college.
2. The training you will receive in your position is progressive - i.e. you will clearly be developing your skills and knowledge.
3. You will receive constant supervision and be regularly evaluated by your company throughout your Internship.
4. Your company will cover you under their Workers Compensation Insurance Policy. 5. The company has a business premises (i.e. no home office work allowed), company website, and Tax Id. Number.
6. There must be a ratio of at least 5 full-time employees to 1 Intern.
If your position fulfills all of the above, CIEE , your US Sponsor will be able to vett the position. Once CIEE approve the Internship placement, you may begin work.”
The advertisers said that an Application Form had to be be completed in full by those submitting an application to the programme and this form had clearly stated that the program was an Internship Program. The program name was also printed on the Application Form.
While unpaid Internship placements were permitted under this program, the advertisers said they had found that most of their participants had been successful in sourcing paid placements in the US. Furthermore, entry level positions were permitted, as long as they were training positions and the Intern was gaining a valuable experience from the training they received.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisers referred to the Visas on offer as ‘Work Visas’ in the main copy of their advertising but that ‘Internship Visas’ were being offered.
The Committee also considered that the deciding factor for many students who wished to travel to the US would be whether or not they could source paid employment and there was no guarantee of payment with these visas. On this basis the Committee considered that the advertising was likely to mislead potential applicants and in breach of Sections 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
The advertisement must not run in its current form again.