Ireland has been trying to let in on the E3 visa, a special US visa available only to Australians. Meanwhile, Australians have raised objections to this move as they want to retain sole access to the visa.
So far, Ireland has forwarded a bill to the US Congress proposing for their citizens to become eligible to apply for the visa. The bill which is rather bipartisan has motivated Joe Hockey, Australia’s ambassador to Washington DC, into lobbying and campaigning against the bill.
The members of the US House of Representatives traced their ancestry to Ireland and are drawn to the idea of creating opportunities for Irish professionals to live and work in the USA.
Are Australians willing to share?
But then, this news is not an invitation to Australian officials as they fear that if the Irish succeed, other countries also might want to be given access. For this reason, they have started a diplomatic battle to ensure that they retain exclusive access to the E3 Visa.
Australian professionals started enjoying the E3 visa in 2005 after the USA signed a free-trade agreement with Australia. Since then, they have become the envy of their contemporaries in other countries.
The US reserved 10,500 of these visas every year to Australians, but only about half of the visas are taken up per year. Ireland wants to pick up the number not accessed by Australians, but because Australians want to maintain exclusive access to the visa, they strongly object to the move.
Some of the officials from Australia have expressed their objections to Paul Ryan, the speaker of the Republican House as well as some other top officials in the US government.
Australia maintains that the E3 visa should have nothing to do with Ireland’s Immigration deals with the US, as the visa was a central part of the free-trade negotiations signed in 2005 between the two countries.
The E3 visa in question lets the spouses of visa holders to work and enjoy in the US without any restrictions. It can also be renewed indefinitely.
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