Unused E3 visas for Irish nationals initiative revived

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Senior political figures in Washington have revived an initiative that seeks to secure thousands of unused US visas for Irish nationals looking to live and work in America. 


Dick Durbin, the US Senate majority whip and chair of the Senate judiciary committee, along with Senator Pat Toomey, a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, have introduced bipartisan legislation to add Ireland to the E3 visa programme – a US immigration route that, in its current form,  is exclusively for citizens of Australia.

The Bill proposed by Durbin and Toomey would allow nationals of Ireland to access unused E3 visas from the previous fiscal year. In exchange, Ireland would provide expanded access to Irish work visas for American citizens.


10,000 visas issued to Australians

10,000 US E3 visas are made available to nationals of Australia every year. However, thousands go unused. According to US immigration reform advocates, if the legislation is passed by Congress, as many as 5,000 US visas could be made available to citizens of Ireland every year.

In a statement, Senator Durbin said:  “The United States and Ireland have long championed the ideals of liberty and freedom, which has allowed our nations to form an unshakeable bond that nurtures these ideals.”

“I thank Senator Toomey for again partnering with me on this bipartisan Bill, which is a vital reiteration of not only our commitment to these principles, but also to our invaluable friendship with Ireland and its citizens. I remain committed to working to quickly pass this bipartisan legislation, as well as other critically-needed fixes to our broken immigration system,” Durbin added.

Meanwhile, Senator Toomey said: “The US has long benefited from people coming here to work hard and contribute to our economy. With this legislation, highly-skilled Irish workers can apply for the E3 non-immigrant visa programme to continue this tradition.”

“I appreciate Senator Durbin working with me on this bipartisan immigration Bill, which will strengthen America’s relationship with Ireland,” Toomey added.


Previous Congress 

Durbin and Toomey introduced a similar bipartisan Bill in the previous Congress. Meanwhile, a similar companion Bill introduced by Congressman Richard Neal - chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means - passed the House of Representatives last Congress.

Congressman Neal said: “The relationship between the United States and Ireland has always been strong. This legislation for E3 non-immigrant visas will only make it stronger. Let us recognise and honour the achievements and contributions that Irish-Americans have made to our country.” 

“With this legislation we will continue to be the land of opportunity and extend a hand to those who want to share in the American dream,” Congressman Neal added.

A previous effort to introduce a measure that would give Irish nationals access to the E3 visa programme was thwarted when one Republican senator opposed it.

A temporary work visa, the E3 professional work visa is only currently available to citizens of Australia. It’s valid for up to two years on a renewable basis. Qualifying jobs in the US for which an E3 visa can be obtained require a bachelor’s degree in a speciality occupation as a minimum.


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Workpermit.com is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details. You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.