US Bill could allow for up to 5,000 work visas for Irish citizens

Irish citizens could soon have another route towards a visa to live and work in the USA as a Bill has been put before the House of Representatives which proposes that Ireland is added to the E3 programme.

The E3 visa helps Australian business people and professionals easily move to the US on a temporary basis if offered employment there. 10,500 E3 visas are currently allocated each year, however only half of these are taken up.

Should the bill pass the House and the Senate, Irish citizens could be allowed to pick up on the 4,000 – 5,000 surplus.

In applying for an E3 visa, candidates must prove that they have a legitimate offer of employment in the US, and that they have the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials to fill the role.

“It is my ardent hope that in addition to creating future flow Irish immigration to the USA that many undocumented Irish will also qualify for this scheme,” independent Senator Billy Lawless said.

The Irish Times is reporting that a key element to the deal would involve Ireland easing the requirements for US citizens who wish to retire in Ireland, including giving people a right to work for 20 hours a week and a lower requirement on annual income levels.

Following a review of immigration procedures in 2014, the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) announced in March 2015 that retirees from non-EEA countries who wish to move to Ireland must have an annual income of at least $55,138 (€50,000)—$110,276 (€100,000) annual income for couples—in order to acquire a visa. These retirees would also not have the right to work in the country.

Ireland’s special envoy to the US, John Deasy said: “The introduction of the Bill in Congress is the first step in this process. If successful, our attention will then focus on the US Senate.”

He added that he expected the Bill to proceed under a “suspension of the rules” procedures which means that the House will be able to process the measure quickly.

The last time Ireland received a new visa allocation was in the early 1990’s under a scheme initiated by former Congressman, Bruce Morrison.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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