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  • Writer's pictureGreg O'Loughlin

Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Add Ireland to E-3 Non-Immigrant Visa Program

Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. and Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA-16) Introduce Bill to expand eligibility - joined by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)

U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means introduced bipartisan legislation with Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA-16) to add Ireland to the E3 non-immigrant visa program.

The E3 program, introduced in 2005 as part of the U.S. – Australian trade agreement, has made 10,500 visas available to skilled Australian nationals annually. It has been a successful pathway for qualified Australian citizens to gain valuable professional experience in the United States. However, Australians have only used roughly half of the available visas during the past decade. In broad strokes, this bill would enable qualified Irish workers to access the unused Australian E3 visas going forward.

E3 visas are limited to professionals visiting the United States to perform services in “specialty occupations” in a confirmed job from a U.S. employer. Under the agreement reached with the Australians, the applicant must have university degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the United States. The E3 visa allows the holder to stay in America for two years with an option to renew.

“The E3 visas, combined with these reciprocal arrangements, would provide welcome and long overdue movement of citizens between Ireland and the United States in both directions, which is so important to Irish America, the U.S., and Ireland,” said Congressman Neal.

“With generations of Irish Americans contributing to our country including helping to build and shape my home state of Pennsylvania, it is deeply important to me that we continue to reaffirm the strong relationship between our people and countries,” said Congressman Kelly. “Recognizing the numerous contributions Irish-Americans have made to the educational, political, and cultural life of America, it is important that we honor their many contributions and continue to support the unique relationship between our shared history and people. I’m glad to join Congressman Richard Neal, Co-Chair of the Friends of Ireland, to ensure this strong relationship continues for the next generation of American.”

An identical companion bill has been filed in the Senate by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Full text of this legislation can be found HERE.

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