The draft bill to give the Irish, access to the E3 work visa scheme has gained a lot of support and progress in the US Senate.
At the moment, the US House of Representatives has already passed the bill and has made its way to the Senate where it needs to get the unanimous support of the US senators to be signed into law.
Before now, there were about 6 senators of the Republican party who put a hold on the bill. Note that this bill requires the approval of all 100 US senators. At the moment, four out of the six senators have given their support, and the number in opposition is now down to two. The 4 senators who have their approval are yet to be known.
The passing of the bill is time-sensitive
This is a critical time for the bill because the US Senate is currently in a lame duck session which will be over before the year ends. If the bill is not passed before the end of this session, the entire process will have to be started again by next year.
The push for the approval of the E3 visa bill has John Deasy, the Special Envoy of the government of Ireland, leading out.
The E3 visa is the renewable US working visa with a two-year validity. It was first introduced in the US in 2005 as part of a free trade agreement between Australia and the United States. Currently, only Australians are eligible to apply for it.
The US allocates 10,500 of these E3 visas to Australians every year, but only about half the number is used up. Ireland intends to secure the unused visas for her citizens.
If the US Senate finally gives its unanimous approval to this bill, citizens of Ireland applying for the visa will be expected to be held to the same standards of eligibility as Australians.
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