Vice Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore will travel to Washington on Friday to lobby the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for bilateral work visas.
Although he admitted that a comprehensive immigration reform was "on the back burner" he plans to pursue other options for Irish who wish to work in the U.S.
Gilmore met with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and other immigrant groups in the Irish Consulate in New York this week.
He told the Irish Independent that he intends to pursue a bilateral treaty similar to the E3 scheme, which is currently only open to Australians. In 2005 President George Bush introduced the E3 work visa which allows 10,500 work visas to be issued to Australians every year.
This visa requires sponsorship from a U.S. employer. Although it has many similarities to the H1B visa, which is used by many Irish emigrants, the E3 also allows spouses to work. The spouses and children are not counted in the 10,500 quota. The visa last two years and can be renewed indefinitely.
He added "That's something we intend to do and we will work with the Irish-American organizations in progressing that."