A STUDENT who spent last summer living and working in the US believes the proposed new system is "totally unfeasible" and will make it almost impossible for many students to avail of the J1 visa.
Margaret Grace (20), from Cork, described her time in Huntington Beach, California, as "without doubt, the best experience an Irish teenager or young adult could imagine".
The third year UCC medicine student believes she grew as a person from her time there because a J1 forces young people to survive on their own.
"I absolutely feel I grew from it," she told the Irish Independent. "Having to call my parents for money would have felt like giving in so it was the first time that I really lived off my own back." Margaret, who found a job at a boutique clothing store, said there is 'no way' she could have gone on a J1 if the new system was in place. She said some American employers are reluctant to hire Irish students without having the necessary documentation.
"I applied for many jobs online before I left Ireland and it was extremely hard to promote yourself without having a social security number.
"As it was, people really struggled to find jobs there. Between 14 of us, we had contacted most of the employers in the area before leaving Ireland, mostly to no response. The only way I can see this system working is for people who have already established contact with an employer through a previous J1 or friends."