Department of State.
Proposed rule with request for comment.
The Department of State (Department) is proposing the amendment of its existing au pair regulations under the Exchange Visitor Program (J-1 visa) to permit designated au pair sponsors to request a one-time extension of six, nine or 12 months beyond an au pair participant's original 12-month program (the maximum duration of program participation).
Comment Dates: The Department will accept comments from the public up to 60 days from February 2, 2006.
You may submit comments, identified by any of the following methods:
E-mail: email@example.com. You must include the RIN in the subject line of your message.
Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions): U.S. Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Room 734, Washington, DC 20547. Please include RIN.
Fax: 202-203-5087. Please include RIN.
Persons with access to the Internet may also view this notice and provide comments by going to the Start Printed Page 5628regulations.gov Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/index.cfm.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Stanley S. Colvin, Director, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Room 734, Washington, DC 20547; or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
In February 2004, the Department of State, in response to requests from the au pair community, announced a pilot program in which the Department's designated au pair sponsors could request that an au pair participant be granted an extension of program participation beyond the original 12-month maximum duration of program participation. The Department has completed its review of the Au Pair Pilot Extension Program and has determined that au pair extensions enhance the overall success of this program. Both host families and au pair participants have enthusiastically embraced the extension concept. Accordingly, the Department is proposing the amendment of program regulations to permit designated sponsors of the au pair program to submit requests to the Department for consideration of program extensions for six, nine, or 12 month durations for first-year au pair participants beyond the maximum duration of participation allowed under § 62.31(c)(1).
Regulatory Analysis and Notices
Administrative Procedure Act
The Department is publishing this rule as a proposed rule, with a 60-day provision for public comments, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553.
Regulatory Flexibility Act/Executive Order 13272: Small Business
These proposed changes to the regulations are hereby certified as not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, and Executive Order 13272, section 3(b).
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996
This rule is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804 for the purposes of Congressional review of agency rulemaking under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801-808). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.
Executive Order 12866
The Department of State does not consider this rule to be a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review. In addition, the Department is exempt from Executive Order 12866 except to the extent that it is promulgating regulations in conjunction with a domestic agency that are significant regulatory actions. The Department has nevertheless reviewed the regulation to ensure its consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in that Executive Order.
The Department has reviewed this regulation in light of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and reduce burden.
Executive Orders 12372 and 13132
This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this regulation.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This rule does not impose any new reporting or record-keeping requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 62End List of Subjects
Accordingly, 22 CFR Part 62 is proposed to be amended as follows:Start Part
PART 62—EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM
1. The authority citation for Part 62 continues to read as follows:
2. Section 62.31 is amended by revising paragraph (k) and adding paragraphs (o) and (p) to read as follows:
(k) Educational component. Sponsors shall:
(1) Require that during their initial period of program participation, all EduCare au pair participants complete not less than 12 semester hours (or their equivalent) of academic credit in formal educational settings at accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions and that all other au pair participants complete not less than six semester hours (or their equivalent) of academic credit in formal educational settings at accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions. As a condition of program participation, host family participants must agree to facilitate the enrollment and attendance of au pairs in accredited U.S. post secondary institutions and to pay the cost of such academic course work in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for EduCare au pair participants and in an amount not to exceed $500 for all other au pair participants.
(2) Require that during any extension of program participation, all participants (i.e., Au Pair or EduCare) satisfy an additional educational requirement, as follows:
(i) For a nine or 12-month extension, all au pair participants and host families shall have the same obligation for coursework and payment therefore as is required during the initial period of program participation.
(ii) For a six-month extension, EduCare au pair participants must complete not less than six semester hours (or their equivalent) of academic credit in formal educational settings at accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions. As a condition of participation, host family participants must agree to facilitate the enrollment and attendance of au pairs in accredited Start Printed Page 5629U.S. post secondary institutions and to pay the cost of such academic coursework in an amount not to exceed $500. All other au pair participants must complete not less than three semester hours (or their equivalent) of academic credit in formal educational settings at accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions. As a condition of program participation, host family participants must agree to facilitate the enrollment and attendance of au pairs in accredited U.S. post secondary institutions and to pay the cost of such academic coursework in an amount not to exceed $250.
(o) Extension of Program. The Department, in its sole discretion, may approve extensions for au pair participants beyond the initial 12-month program. Applications to the Department for extensions of six, nine or 12 months, must be received by the Department not less than 30 calendar days prior to the expiration of the exchange visitor's initial authorized stay in either the Au Pair or EduCare program (i.e., 30-calendar days prior to the program end date listed on the exchange visitor's SEVIS record, Form DS-2019). The request for an extension beyond the maximum duration of the initial 12-month program must be submitted electronically in the Department of Homeland Security's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Supporting documentation must be submitted to the Department of State on the sponsor's organizational letterhead and contain the following information:
(1) Au pair's name, SEVIS identification number, date of birth, the length of the extension period being requested;
(2) Verification that the au pair completed the educational requirements of the initial program; and
(3) Payment of the required non-refundable fee (see 22 CFR 62.90) via Pay.gov.
(p) Repeat Participation. Exchange visitors who have participated in the Au Pair Program shall not be eligible for repeat participation.
Dated: January 24, 2006.
Stanley S. Colvin,
Director, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. E6-1413 Filed 2-1-06; 8:45 am]
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