Serendipity and Micheala Murphy

Michaela Murphy came to the United States from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in late June, microbiology degree in hand and twelve months in front of her. Having spent the previous summer in Boston, she knew when she came on the J-1 Irish Work and Travel visa that this is where she wanted to be. “I was very excited at the prospect of working in a city with such a strong reputation in life sciences,” she said.

Despite her solid qualifications and proactive nature, she found herself struggling to find a suitable internship position. She spent many weeks in and out of the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) office and followed up on leads with little success. “It was quite discouraging,” she admitted. “I considered returning home.” Finally, a glimmer of hope emerged when she landed an unpaid research position at a small biotech start up.

Glad to have a position but barely making ends meet, Michaela continued to keep her eyes open for a more financially stable opportunity. Her persistence paid off, and after another couple of months, she was fortunate to land a paid internship at Invest Northern Ireland. In this role, she is working on business development in the life sciences sector, and is excited about the exposure to a different side of the field.

Michaela still has six months left on her visa, and she is looking forward to making the most of them. “I strive to work as hard as I can and I have a great passion and enthusiasm for my field,” she said. With great feedback from her supervisor, Michaela hopes to leverage her Boston intern experience to further her career. Micheala is grateful for the assistance provided by the J-1 W & T Program staff at the IIIC for helping her find this opportunity.

The IIIC sponsors 260 Irish young people every year, helping them find quality internships in their fields of study.

Immigration News


Q: I plan to take my two small children on a vacation to several countries. My husband will be joining us a little later. We are all US citizens. Will there be any problems because the children will be traveling initially with only one parent?

A: The US government does not have exit requirements for people leaving this country. However, some airlines may have policies regarding documentation for children traveling with one parent (or guardian), and some countries definitely do have entry requirements that cover this situation. This is true irrespective of whether the travelers are US citizens, legal permanent residents, or visa holders.

What should you do? First, check the entry requirements for the countries that you will be visiting by going to the web site of the country’s embassy in the US. Countries may require, for example, a notarized statement from the parent not traveling that clearly shows consent to the children’s travel. On the other hand, they may have requirements that are ambiguous, or they may not address the issue at all in information available from the particular embassies.

Therefore, we recommend that you be prepared for scrutiny as you travel with your children, just in case. You must have, of course, passports (including any necessary foreign visas) for the children. In addition, you should get a notarized letter from your husband precisely describing and consenting to the dates and destinations of travel. In addition, you should take along certified copies of the children’s birth certificates to prove that you are the parent. Travelers coming to the United States are advised to take these steps as well.

The same advice applies in situations where parents are no longer together. In addition, the traveling parent should be sure to take along a copy of any child custody orders issued by a court as part of divorce proceedings, as these typically address issues surrounding travel by the children, especially out of the state of the custodial parent’s residence. (If they do not, we strongly advise that they be modified to avoid future misunderstandings.)

International child abduction is of course the very serious issue underlying such precautions. Any parent who has a concern in this regard should go to the US State Department’s web site at and click on the link to “Children and Family” for a full discussion of the legal and practical issues involved, as well as the resources available to parents dealing with abduction issues.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice, seek the assistance of IIIC legal services staff.

IIIC Program Updates

U.S. Citizenship Workshop – February 10

Ready for U.S. citizenship? The IIIC can help you with that. The IIIC offers assistance with the completion of forms and with any issues you might have regarding your application for naturalization.

On Tuesday, February 10, there will be afternoon and early evening appointments from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the IIIC Downtown office to assist eligible Legal Permanent Residents with their applications. Pre-registration is required. To register or to obtain additional information, call Ambreen at 617-542-7654, Ext. 41.

If you have already started the naturalization process, please consider taking our six-week Citizenship Preparation classes beginning Thursday, February 12 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. For more information, contact Sarah at 617-542-7654, Ext. 36.

Executive Action Information Session in Brighton – February 19

The IIIC will present a special information session to inform clients about President Obama’s Executive Action plan for immigration relief. The information session will be presented on Thursday, February 19 at 6:00 PM at the Green Briar Restaurant & Pub, 304 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135. All are welcome.

Free Computer Skills Workshops are Ongoing

This winter, the IIIC is offering basic computer skills drop-in workshops for people ranging from those who have never turned on a computer to those who may know a little but want to gain confidence and more knowledge and improve their internet skills, including sending emails and searching the web. The workshops provide students with skills, confidence, and computer competency. There will be weekly drop-in workshops on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the IIIC Downtown office. To learn more about the basic skills workshops, contact Sarah at (617) 542-7654 x36.

Job Opportunity at the IIIC: Irish Outreach Program Coordinator

The IIIC is seeking an Irish Outreach Program Coordinator to reach out and connect with the Irish community, supporting Irish immigrants’ access to IIIC’s legal, wellness and career advancement services, and other support services. In addition, the Irish Outreach Program Coordinator will assist with the day-to-day operations of the J-1 Irish Work and Travel Program. For a full job description see our website at (Go to: Get Involved/Career Opportunities)

Health and Wellness

Family Healing Workshop – February 10

Is someone you love struggling with prescription medication or Heroin addiction? Do you know the signs? Feeling frustrated and hopeless about this situation and the pain it is causing your family?

In response to the growing opioid addiction epidemic in Massachusetts, and across the nation, Governor Patrick declared a public health emergency on March 27, 2014. From 2000 to 2012 the number of unintentional fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts increased by 90 percent. In 2012, 668 Massachusetts residents died from unintentional opioid overdoses, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Various communities in the Commonwealth have reported previously unseen spikes in both fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose in recent months. The Department of Public Health (DPH) Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) data shows that in FY13 nearly half of all persons receiving treatment in the publicly funded system reported opioids as their primary or secondary drug of choice. In addition, approximately 40 percent of persons served in FY13 in the BSAS system were between the ages of 13 and 29.

We have answers to your questions! Please join us on Tuesday, February 10 for the second of our four week Family Healing Workshop Series with refreshments and resource sharing from 5.30pm and the workshop beginning promptly at 6:00pm at the Labouré Center (275 West Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127). Childcare is available but YOU MUST RSVP TO CONFIRM. Please call Danielle at the IIIC (617-542-7654 ext.14 or if you have any questions about this series or about recovery in families. Change IS always possible – We can help!

Quote of the Week

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”

- John Steinbeck