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Lawless, Billy

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Order of Business

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Senator Billy Lawless

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An Cathaoirleach

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

The Cathaoirleach has it.
I inform the House of a proposed reciprocal visa deal that would allow Irish citizens to apply for E-3 visas as part of new immigration legislation before the US House of Representatives. As the Bill is due to be voted on this evening, it is fingers crossed. The visas would come from the unused portion of the 10,500 E-3 visas currently allocated to Australia which has never used its full allocation. It could allow us up to 5,000 visas per year in perpetuity. As under the current law, the spouses and children of the new visa holders would not count against the cap. Their spouses would also be allowed to work. The Bill would require visa holders to have a third level education or its equivalent. It is a two-year renewable work visa. Ireland has been disadvantaged since the US Immigration and Nationality Act 1965 which inadvertently choked off Irish emigration to the United States. The last time Ireland received a new visa allocation was in the early 1990s under a scheme initiated by former Congressman Bruce Morrison. There has been disappointment on immigration legislation previously, particularly in 2007 and 2013 when we came very close to having it, but I am cautiously optimistic in welcoming the new Bill, given that the President, the homeland security chief, Speaker Ryan's office and Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner and Richard Neal are pushing it forward today during the lame duck session. Deputy Deasy and I have been working tirelessly in the background with Democrats and Republicans to ensure there is complete and bipartisan support for the initiative. It is my ardent hope that, in addition to creating a future flow of Irish emigrants to the United States, many of the undocumented Irish will also qualify for the scheme.