Student visa program: New rules, same problems

By HOLBROOK MOHR and MITCH WEISS | June 20, 2011 | 5:26 AM EDT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The State Department is acknowledging that one of its most popular exchange programs leaves foreign college students vulnerable to exploitation. It's unclear if new regulations the agency is pushing will stop the abuses.

The revised rules will shift more responsibility onto companies designated sponsors in the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program.

In advertising new rules, the agency acknowledged problems that mirror An Associated Press investigation published six months ago.

The students are supposed to have jobs in the U.S., but AP found many who couldn't find work. Some shared beds in crowded housing. Others turned to the sex industry or homeless shelters.

Critics say the new rules don't require enough government oversight.

The agency says the changes will clean up the program.