Only two Senators remain in opposition to the E3 bill, down from six

Progress is being made in the fight to provide Irish people with access to E3 American working visas.

Read More: Opposition to E3 Irish visa bill down to just three GOP senators

The E3 visa bill has already passed the House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate, where it would need unanimous approval before it can be signed into law.

There were as many as six Republican senators putting a hold on the bill which requires the unanimous consent of all 100 senators, but IrishCentral has learned that that number is now down to two.

Read More: Six GOP senators who put hold on Irish visa bill are named

It is unclear which Senator has changed from opposition to approval of the E3 bill.

There is significant time pressure as Congress is in a lame duck session which will end before the end of the year. Should the E3 bill not pass before the end of this congressional session, the process would have to start all over again next year.

Read More: E3 visa bill passes House - more US visas to Irish if it passes Senate

The drive to pass the E3 visa bill is led by Irish Special Envoy John Deasy and the Irish government.

The E3 visa was first introduced in the US in 2005. It’s a 2-year renewable American working visa that is currently available to Australians only as part of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).

Australia receives 10,500 E3 visas annually, but typically only fills half of them. Ireland wants to see those unused visas opened up for Irish applicants. 

Read More: What is the E3 bill and what would it mean for the Irish?

For Australians to qualify for the E3 visa, they must prove:

  • that he or she must have a legitimate offer of employment in the US
  • that the position he or she is coming to fill qualifies as specialty occupation employment
  • that he or she is an Australian citizen
  • that he or she has the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
  • that his or her stay will be temporary, and if required before the alien may commence employment in the specialty occupation, that he or she has the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation.

Read More: Irish E3 visa bill is introduced in Congress - would mean 5,000 US work visas a year

Should the bill pass into law in the US, Irish people are expected to be held to the same qualifying factors that Australians are.

Do you think the E3 visa bill will pass? Let us know in the comments

The fate of the E3 visa still remains unknown, but one more Senator has switched to support it's passageGetty