Sunday 18 August 2019

Senators put hold on granting US visas to Irish

The US Capitol (Alex Brandon/AP)
The US Capitol (Alex Brandon/AP)
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Work is under way to address the concerns or queries of four remaining US senators who have issued a "hold" on a bill which would see thousands of Irish workers gain access to visas for the US.

The bill to extend the E3 Visa programme to Irish workers recently passed through the House of Representatives and now must win unanimous support in the Senate for it to become law.

E3 visas for skilled or specialist workers are currently only available to Australians, but the proposed change would see any visas not taken up by Australians given to Irish applicants.

Four senators - Johnny Isakson of Georgia, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Roy Blunt of Missouri - have placed a hold on the bill.

A hold can be placed on any piece of legislation in order to allow a senator to seek more information or to have queries addressed.

The proposed law is seen as having a good chance of getting through the Senate as it does not add any extra visas but merely redistributes surplus ones.

An earlier hold placed on the proposed law by senators who sit on the judiciary and budget committees has been released.

Special Envoy to the US, Fine Gael TD John Deasy, is leading the charge to address any questions arising out of the bill in order for a vote on the law to be called.

He told the Irish Independent the visas will be important for individuals and companies.

Irish Independent

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