The bill wants to see Irish people granted access to surplus American E3 visas
Irish access to the American E3 visa program has again been introduced to Congress by Representative Richard Neal.
As it stands, the E3 visa is an American working visa that is only open to Australian citizens, who are granted some 10,500 annually. However, since the program was first introduced in 2005 as part of a US-Australia trade agreement, only about half of those visas are claimed each year.
Now, Ireland wants access to the surplus E3 visas that Australian citizens do not claim.
In 2018, the bill made its way to the Senate in the US but was narrowly defeated in December when a unanimous decision on the matter could not be reached. Just one senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas opposed.
The bill will need to pass through the House and then get unanimous support from the Senate before being passed on to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.ote.
There is one other scenario where the bill would be attached to a appropriations bill therefore not needing a unanimous vote.
The reintroduction of the bill comes only a short while after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Ireland in April with a delegation of American politicians, and Irish politicians, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, visited Washington, DC in March.
John Deasy, special envoy to the US government from Ireland, told The Irish Times: "It was clear from our meetings around St Patrick's Day that both the Republican and Democratic leadership offices want to continue to pursue the E3 Bill.
"Both Speaker Pelosi and President Trump told us they are behind efforts to get this finished and Congressman Neal is one of its driving forces in the House."
Michelle O'Neill, vice president of the Irish political party Sinn Féin, says she welcomes the new development:
We very much welcome the news that Congressman Richard Neal has reintroduced the E3 VISA Bill to include Ireland. Richie is a long-time supporter of Ireland and the peace process....His commitment to immigration reform will greatly benefit Irish workers https://t.co/TSUtjvbkz6— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) May 1, 2019
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