International Students Volunteering

Volunteering is a great for international students to engage with the Appleton community!  As you begin to volunteer, be sure to be review how volunteering is related to your immigration status.

Volunteer through Lawrence

Check out the opportunities available through the Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE):
http://www.lawrence.edu/students/resources/volunteer

Immigration Implications of Volunteering

To be considered a volunteer, the work performed by the individual must meet the following criteria:

  • No expectation of compensation
  • The volunteer cannot displace a genuine employee,
  • The services provided by the volunteer should not be the same services for which he or she was previously paid and/or expects to be hired and paid for in the future
  • Services are performed for a non-profit organization for public service, religious or humanitarian objective.
  • Work at a for-profit entity is considered employment and must be for pay. The only exception is made for training programs where the trainee functions, to some degree, like an employee, but is under close supervision and provides no significant measurable work for the employer. The trainee must not take the place of a paid employee. For example, students who are considered student interns may engage in unpaid internships at for-profit organizations.

Department of Labor Definition

The Department of Labor has a six-factor text for determining "ordinary volunteerism:"

  1. Is the entity that will benefit/receive services from the volunteer a nonprofit organization?
  2. Is the activity less than a full-time occupation?
  3. Are the services offered freely and without pressure or coercion?
  4. Are the services of the kind typically associated with volunteer work?
  5. Have regular employees been displaced to accommodate the volunteer?
  6. Does the worker receive (or expect) any benefit from the entity to which it is providing services?

Unpaid Work/Internships

If you are interning or working but not receiving payment, it is not automatically "volunteering."  Please be sure to review the Department of Labor resources and/or consult with an immigration attorney to be sure you are not violating the regulations for your visa status.