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Key Republican senators sign up to Irish E3 visa bill

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Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey has indicated he is in favor of the E3 visa bill put forward by Massachusetts GOP colleague Scott Brown and Ohio Senator Rob Portman, also a Republican, is said to be on board.

The bill would allow 10,500 Irish to come to America on a two-year work visa renewable after that period every two years.

The bill is linked in Congress with a hi-tech bill that would allow more Chinese and Indian hi-tech workers to come to the U.S. as well as raise the visa cap for Hispanics.

The addition of the two Republican Senators would move the numbers of senators in favor of the bill to a definite 58 just two short of a filibuster proof majority. Fifty three Democrats, led by Senator Charles Schumer have already signed on.

Toomey came on board after a determined lobbying campaign by Irish groups in Pennsylvania led by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

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Equally, Portman has been contacted by many Irish group in Ohio and is believed to now be in favor of the legislation.

Meanwhile Irish Central understands that Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. who has been opposed to the bill, has softened his stance and is now open to negotiation with Senator Brown and Democrats.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who was in the U.S. this week has spoken to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell while the Irish government has also talked to Maine Senator Susan Collins.

The Congress is on recess next week which makes action on the bill likely the following week.

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