The exclusive access Australia has to the E3 visa — a special US work visa — has once more come under threat as Leo Varadkar, Ireland's Prime Minister intends to take up the issue with President Donald Trump this week at the White House.
Last year, Ireland furiously took its lobbying to the White House and the US Senate to be granted access to the US non-immigrant visa, but Australia, with Joe Hockey, the Australian Ambassador to the US leading out, was able to execute a counter campaign to retain their monopoly of the visa and keep it beyond the reach of the Irish.
The E3 visa with its two-year validity, allows professionals from Australia, along with their spouses to work in the US. The visa can be extended after each two-year validity and has no limits on the number of extensions its holder can do.
Australia reserves exclusive access to this visa, and this has sparked jealousy among other nations.
The US grants Australia 10,500 E3 visa slots every year since 2005 when both countries signed a free trade agreement.
Ireland's Prime Minister has his lobbying strategy intact
Come Thursday, Varadkar will be meeting with President Trump at the White House to mark St Patrick's Day. He will also be meeting Mike Pence, America's Vice President in a breakfast meeting. In addition, at the annual Speaker's Lunch at Capitol Hill, he will also get the opportunity to lobby senior members of Congress on the visa issue.
Ireland's lobbying of Congress last year, although aggressive, missed the unanimous Senate approval by a hair's breadth. Australia had earlier lobbied some members of the US Senate to put the vote on hold. When Congress eventually recessed for the year, Ireland lost out, and Australia retained her exclusive access to the visa.
But with Congress back in session, Ireland has resumed its pursuit of the visa deal. John Deasy, the country's Ambassador to the US, is emboldened by the progress the bill made last year and is resolute that they have no other option than to pursue it.
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