There are growing fears over the delay of the passage of the bill to grant Irish citizens access to US E3 visas. The fears are informed by the possibility that the bill may not be passed this year before the US Congress closes for the year and adjourns for the Christmas holidays. This also might imply a bleak future for the bill.
This bill which got an easy pass through the House of Representatives without needs a unanimous vote at the US Senate.
Initially, six senators opposed the bill, but at the moment, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has made himself known as a new opponent to the bill. You will remember that the US E3 visa is only available to Australian citizens. 10,500 of these visas are allotted every year to Australians, but only about half of them are taken up every year. The Irish are proposing to be given the remaining half of the visas, and the bill is already in the US Senate.
Senator Cotton who has placed a hold on the bill was not one of the initial six senators who opposed it. As a matter of fact, it was expected that the legislation would be passed last week when a lot of senators dropped their concerns.
There were hopes that Ireland could ride on the political momentum following the bill which has the backing of Paul Ryan, the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, there have been efforts by the Embassy of Ireland in Washington and the US Special Envoy, John Deasy, who have been doing a lot of lobbying to get the bill passed.
Ireland has an attractive, reciprocal arrangement for this proposal
One crucial feature about the bill that should attract the support of Congress is the fact that Ireland has mutual plans for Americans who want to live, work or retire in Ireland to do so with ease. The US Department of Homeland Security and Ireland’s Department of Justice will liaise to work out the details of this proposal.
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