Summer Work Travel Program Helps 100,000 Foreign Students Get Jobs—American Students Get Shaft

Government-Run Summer Work Travel Program Prioritizes Foreign Students Over Americans

America’s youth unemployment rate is dismally high, and one (often-overlooked) reason is the slough of guest worker programs that the US government provides—basically, teenagers are being out-competed by temporary foreign workers.

One program that is particularly frustrating for American youth is the Summer Work Travel Program (SWT).  The SWT program is fairly straightforward: it finds summer jobs for 100,000 foreign students per year (for a small fee).

The program partners with a multitude of employers, who like hiring foreign students because they: (i) pay no Social Security tax, (ii) no Medicare tax, (iii) require no health insurance, (iv) are not bound by standard wage agreements (employers get cheap labor), (v) and employers have greater leverage over foreign students than locals.

Who benefits?

The government benefits because foreign students, and a host of non-profit organizations, pay them middleman fees—it’s a $100 million industry.

Employers benefit, since they get extra cheap labor, and don’t have to go through the rigamarole of finding their own employees.

And of course, foreign students benefit, since they get to work in the US.

But everything has a cost—in this case the cost is jobs for American teenagers.  Frankly, American youth don’t stand a chance to foreign competition, both because of their relative lack of experience, and all the perks that come with hiring foreign labor.

They just can’t compete.

And, of course, it’s not just the SWT program, there are many other programs specifically designed to prioritize foreign labor over Americans.  The reason the SWT is so egregious is that it explicitly favors foreign students over American students.  The government is rigging the game against its own people.

Hiring foreign labor should be a last resort, but often it’s the first choice.

The sad part is that it’s very easy to end these types of programs, and doing so would help American citizens out—big time.  Something similar happened earlier this month in Maine, where local businesses were forced to hire American workers after the supply of cheap foreign labor tried up.  Consequently, the unemployment rate decreased (especially for youth), wages went up, and working conditions improved.  Foreign labor destroys the natural economic balance, making things tough for workers.

It’s time we put America first and stopped prioritizing foreign students over Americans.

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