Sunday 22 July 2018

Company warns it is not taking bookings for US graduate visa programme in 2018 amid fears over review

Statue of Liberty New York. Photo: Deposit
Statue of Liberty New York. Photo: Deposit
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A leading visa specialist company has advised Irish graduates that they are not taking bookings for 2018 for people looking to move to the United States on a graduate visa.

Travel company USIT has said "all bets are off" in relation to the visa programme.

USIT has now issued a statement to customers which reads:

"It is USIT’s understanding that there now exists a very real possibility that the Graduate Visa programme may be discontinued as early as 2018. Further to this, a decision via The White House is expected to be made in regard to this programme.

"The decision will naturally have an enormous and fundamental on impact upon recently graduated Irish students in 2017...as a result of this period of uncertainty, we would like to make it clear that we will not be accepting any bookings for the 2018 Graduate Visa Program."

Melanie Young, programme coordinator, also took to Facebook Live to deliver the company's updated position and said anyone who had already booked to travel in 2018 would be refunded.

People who wish to travel in 2017 are unaffected she said and anyone who wishes to travel should consider leaving before the end of the year.

“We still have about 100 places left for 2017 programme so our advice to you, if you’re thinking of going in January, February, March, our advice would be, to book onto the programme as soon as you can (only 100 places left) and your travel must be on or before December 31," she said.

On Sunday The Wall Street Journal said the US administration was eyeing "major reductions" for five of the employment-based cultural exchange visas in the J-1 visa program, citing unnamed sources.

The focus is said to be on seasonal workers, trainees, interns and au pairs arriving in the U.S. on a J-1 visa, according to the news outlet.

The US administration has yet to comment on any review of visas.

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