Participant Training: Technical Aspects Part 1 and 2
August 18, 2009 – 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
|Presenters:||Ethel Brooks, USAID Office of Education|
Jim Nindel, USAID Office of Education
Jeffrey Shahan, Sayres & Associates/USAID Office of Education
Mamiki Sibanyoni, USAID South Africa
Linda Walker, USAID Office of Education
This session provided an overview of the ADS Handbook chapter 253, including per diem rates for trainees, visa compliance, travel approval methods, accompanying dependents, language proficiency testing, tax withholdings, Health and Accident Coverage (HAC) and pre-departure orientation. Additional topics of discussion included the Fly America Act, Executive Orders, and funding requirements. Countries which have been declared ineligible to receive USAID participant training funding were also discussed. Participants were encouraged to visit the U.S. State Department’s website for further details on this issue.
Presenters discussed the Executive Order related to HBCUs and MSIs, as well as the Fly America Act mandating the purchase of airline tickets from a U.S. carrier for all USAID-funded participant training activities. The importance of the pre-orientation departure and Stakeholder Compact were also discussed in relation to avoiding violation of J-1 visas provisions.
The second part of this session focused on the systems and roles that explain how TraiNET/VCS/SEVIS works. The qualifications and roles of the verifier, approver and submitter within the VCS system were presented. The policies underneath the roles and systems were then discussed using cases suggested by participants and it was agreed that there were sometimes issues of communication between Washington and the Missions. Presenters reminded participants that they are responsible for protecting the government against fraud, and provided specific examples of trainees who misrepresented information about employment and having family either back home or abroad.
The final part of the session shifted towards issues related to funding details, such as the new rule that both invitation and training travel will come from the same source. Differences between employees under grants and contractors were introduced and presenters stressed that Missions can select employees under a grant to have them come as J visa holders, but contractors do not require training so they should never be admitted that way. Cooperative Agreements (CA) are the gray area. If competitively awarded, then the CA should work like contractor, otherwise the CA works as it does with a trainee. Presidents, Congressmen and Diplomats from other countries do not use J status, so the Missions should not submit the request to VCS.
Key take away points from this session included understanding the TraiNET system and its roles, visa requirements, and other travel related regulations. Missions were encouraged to do background checks on potential participants to prevent problems, and reminded that the J-1 visa is conditional to participants returning to their home countries for a total of 24 months before they can apply for resident status in the U.S. Presenters also reminded participants that speaking English is a requirement for the J visa, not for entering the country. Understanding the requirements for this visa is crucial as it is the only visa USAID uses.
To view the presentations, please click on link below:
Trai-netTechnical Aspects : Open