Monday 17 December 2018

Deal on working rights for Irish and US citizens would see 5,000 work visas for Irish annually

The bill would see the US offer around 5,000 work visas for Irish people very year, in return for an easing on restrictions on Americans retiring here.
The bill would see the US offer around 5,000 work visas for Irish people very year, in return for an easing on restrictions on Americans retiring here.
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A POTENTIAL deal that would boost working and residency rights for Irish and US citizens in each other’s countries could be a “win-win” situation, Fine Gael TD John Deasy has said.

The deal on the table would see the US offer around 5,000 work visas for Irish people very year, in return for an easing on restrictions on Americans retiring here.

A Bill has been introduced to the US House of Representatives that, if passed, would see Irish citizens become eligible to apply for the E3 visa scheme, currently only open to citizens of Australia.

The Australians only use around half of the 10,500 visas that are available to them every year.

Under the proposed legislation being put forward by Democrat Richard Neal and Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, Irish citizens would be able to apply for unused E3 visas.

A vote on the Bill could take place in the House next week, though the legislation would still require the unanimous consent of the US Senate.

According to the Irish Times, a key part of the agreement would be an easing of the rules here for US citizens that want to retire in Ireland, including allowing them the right to work for up to 20 hours per week and lowering income thresholds.

Mr Deasy, who is the government’s special envoy to the US told Independent.ie: “We still have a long way to go but we’ve never reached this far before with the E3 visa."

He also said “We know there is a demand from US citizens who wish to retire to Ireland”.

He said the deal could “amount to a win-win situation for us and them”.

News of the potential deal comes as immigration is a highly contentious subject in the US.

President Donald Trump ramped up rhetoric on border controls ahead of yesterday’s mid-term elections, though it may not have helped Republican fortunes as they lost control of the House of Representatives.

Mr Trump sent thousands of troops to the border with Mexico after it emerged that there was a large caravan of migrants from Central America making their way North.

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