Monday, May 05, 2008

Volunteering while on Visa in US

Last week I decided to do some volunteer work for Seattle's Public Library. Since I'm on work visa, my friend advised me to check if I was legally authorized for volunteering.

I was flustered to know that volunteering could be illegal. But sources on www reveal that the law has been made to ensure Fair Labor Laws and I agree. Besides being unpaid, a job should fulfill several other criteria to be considered volunteer work.

A job can be considered volunteering if
  • it is really volunteer work i.e. nobody will expect any remuneration or compensation for the work.
  • is preferably for a non-charitable organization e.g. museum, church, public libraries.
  • the position has been unpaid in the past and continues to be so.
  • any American would perform the job without pay.
The information is relevant specifically to H1B and H4 Visa holders. Based on this, am ready to submit my application to SPL.

Sources on www that I read to reach conclusion -

Capitol Immigration Law Group LLC

Kevin Keane's advice

Information from Department of Labor

Murthy Law Firm Resource-1

Murthy Law Firm Resource-2

A word of caution from University of Washington

Off topic, stumbled on this interesting DOL's audit report [pdf] on Foreign Labor Programs and LCA procedures.

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