Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed the renewal of the J1 Visa programme. Ireland and the United States have this week signed an agreement extending the 12-month J1 visa for another three years.
The bilateral agreement signed between the Irish and US governments relates to the 12-month J1 visa which most Irish students use to spend a summer working in the US.
Deputy O’Brien commented, “The J1 Visa Programme has been used extensively by Irish students for close to 50 years. It has played an important role in facilitating students in accessing vital work experience.
“I am relieved that any concerns which were raised by President Elect Donald Trump during his campaign have now been clarified and that a commitment to extend the programme, has been agreed.
“Ireland has a strong bond with the United States which stretches back decades and through generations. Our relationship with the United States developed as a result of initiatives such as the J1 Visa Programme and it is imperative that our close links are maintained.
“The changes announced to the J1 Visa Programme last November saw the introduction of new restrictions, including a provision which states that Irish students must have a pre-arranged job before travelling to the United States under the programme. However, many Irish students have been unable to secure work to date, despite having spent large sums of money in applying for the J1 Visa and arranging flights.
“Accordingly I’m calling on Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan to further engage with officials on this issue to see if a better outcome can be achieved for those that will apply for the J1 Visa over the next three years,” said Deputy O’Brien.