Floods of Irish students are expected to descend upon New York and the surrounding areas in the coming weeks for their annual summer of fun.
Hoards of Irish students, J-1 summer visas in their back pocket, will begin arriving in New York in the next few weeks, like they have for the past decade or so.
This year “will be busy, if not busier than ever before,” according to Orla Doherty, executive director of the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers.
“Due to the recession in Ireland, which is worse there than here in the U.S., we expect more students will travel abroad this year both for work and the overall experience,” said Doherty.
“From what we hear, summer work in Ireland will not be as plentiful as it has been in previous years.”
Although USIT, an Irish student travel agency, when contacted was unable to provide exact numbers on the number of J-1 visas that will be distributed this year, Doherty said the center has “had as many, if not more, e-mail and phone enquiries over the past three months from J-1 students planning on living and working in New York for the summer.” A J-1 visa allows a student, who is currently mid-third level education or has completed a degree program and has a job offer in Ireland, to live and work legally in any part of the U.S. for a four month period.
Last year there was an influx of students right up to the end of June, putting a strain on the center to come up with suggested jobs an accommodations. This year, says Doherty, things will certainly be tighter on the job front.
“Overall, we are getting very few job vacancy notices, so it will certainly be more difficult for students to find work this year. We encourage them to consider living and working in places like the Jersey Shore and Long Island where seasonal work is more readily available,” Doherty said.
In an effort to cope with the expected invasion of students, Doherty said under the umbrella of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, the center has issued an up-to-date information sheet for J-1 holders to all colleges and student unions this year in the hope that they would be better informed and prepared than in previous years.
The students are between the ages of 18 and 22. While a high number of them will take their summer working vacation on the west coast, a good percentage settle for the New York life. Many of them flock to fill several seasonal jobs on Long Island and the Jersey Shore, many more settle in the Irish suburbs of New York.
While most students choose the U.S. as the destination for their summer working holiday, several other students go inter-railing across Europe, and some even go to Thailand for a month.
Canada has also become a popular destination for students in recent years, according to USIT.
The main questions the center receives from students are related to work and accommodation.
“Most of the queries we have received are on behalf of four to five students,” said Doherty.
In the run up to the students’ arrival, Doherty is making an appeal to all landlords and business owners hiring summer staff to contact the center if they have any vacancies or accommodation available for the students.
“We are very grateful for all the help we get from business owners, companies and property owners that helped out last year,” she said.
To contact the center with a job vacancy or accommodation call 914-237-5121 or drop into the center at 90 McLean Avenue in Yonkers.