E-3 Irish non-immigrant visa added to bipartisan bill

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — A bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Congressman Mike Kelly will add Ireland to the program of E3 nonimmigrant visa.

Since 2005, the E3 program has provided 10,500 visas annually to qualified Australians under the US-Australia Trade Agreement. The program has proven to be an effective way to gain valuable work experience in the United States for qualified Australian citizens. Despite this, Australians have only used around half of the visas available over the past decade. According to the bill, skilled Irish workers will in future be able to access unused Australian E3 visas.

A professional visiting the United States on an E3 visa must provide services in a “specialty profession” for a US employer. According to the agreement with the Australians, applicants must have a university degree or its equivalent to enter the United States. E3 visa holders have the option to stay in the country for up to two years.

“E3 visas, combined with these reciprocal agreements, would provide a welcome and long-awaited movement of citizens between Ireland and the United States in both directions, which is so important to Irish America, the United States and Ireland,” said Congressman Neal.

“With generations of Irish Americans contributing to our country, including helping to build and shape my home state of Pennsylvania, it is extremely important to me that we continue to reaffirm the strong relationship between our people and our countries. “Congressman Kelly said. “Recognizing the many contributions that Irish-Americans have made to the educational, political, and cultural life of America, it is important that we honor their many contributions and continue to support the unique relationship between our shared history and the people. I am pleased to join Congressman Richard Neal, Co-Chair of Friends of Ireland, in ensuring that this strong relationship continues for the next generation of Americans.

There is an identical companion bill in the Senate introduced by Senator Pat Toomey and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.

For the full text of the legislation, click on here.

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