I am originally from Russia. I have to do a 6 month internship abroad as part of my degree course. I chose to do it in the USA, Virginia. I received an offer letter and a training plan, in which was outlined what I would be trained in. In the J1 Visa regulations it is stated that
"The J-1 visa is not meant to be used as an alternate to other visas, such as the H1-B, that are designed as work visas. The J-1 visa is used to “enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through participation in structured and guided work-based training and internship programs and to improve participants’ knowledge of American techniques, methodologies, and expertise”, as well as their understanding of American culture and society. The training and intern programs should directly relate to the participant’s career field or field of study.
Trainees and interns must not displace permanent or temporary American workers.
Training or intern placements may not be in unskilled or casual labor positions and the positions should not require participants to perform more than 20 percent of their on-the-job training in clerical work."
Right from the beginning I was asked to do only clerical and repetitive work. The training plan was not followed. I talked to my immediate supervisor and he answered that that was the internship and nothing was going to change. I was also asked to work excessive hours and on Saturdays as well without any additional payment. I was extremely unhappy and called the immigration services and asked whether I could change the company. They informed me that it was not possible to change companies with my visa, but I could be moved to a different department and should call the Human Resources. Two days after I called them, my internship was terminated. My manager told me that the reason was that I told the HR that I was unhappy and I had bad attitude towards the work. They said they did not have any obligation towards the training plan they signed. After that they refused to talk to me and said it was not allowed because the company had such policy, which they also refused to show me. During the time I was employed there I never received any feedback and no expectations were stated. They also said that I refused to do clerical work, which I never did, only complained about it. They also take an intern or an American worker to do that work but trainees should not displace American workers. The internship was for credit and I do not know if it will be recognized. If not, I will lose the whole semester in my home country. I also paid some money to get the visa. What should I tell to my school? Is any legal action possible? As a student I do not have a lot of money to pay for a lawyer. Since the J1 Visa expires after the termination, I had to leave the country.
I would be very glad if anyone could help me?