Irish/United States J1 visa arrangements to continue

Further to the much discussed migrant crackdown reported by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign there has been concern over the future of migrants to the United States across the world.  One group have had their fears allayed with the announcement that the J1 visa scheme which allows citizens of the Republic of Ireland travel visa free to the United States for up to 12 months for work.

Anne Anderson, from the Irish government and Evan Ryan, US Assistant Secretary for State for Education and Cultural Affairs, signed a memorandum of understanding in Washington to keep the programme in place for the next three years.

The scheme is limited to those Irish citizens aged 18 and 35 and is part of a reciprocal arrangement whereby United States citizens have the same visa free rights to visit the Republic of Ireland.  More than 1300 Irish citizens travelled under the programme last year, while 300 American took advantage of the arrangement. Close to 7000 Irish took part in the four month J1 Summer Work Travel Programme which comes under the same visa umbrella.  Already changes have been made to the visa free programme meaning that those travelling to the United States had to secure their employment before leaving Ireland.

Donald Trump had, during his presidential election campaign, vowed to scrap the scheme.  In August 2015 in a position paper Mr Trump commented that he would scrap the arrangement if he got in office.

There is still concern that the programme will be repealed through executive orders once Mr Trump takes up his presidency on 20th January although any change would be unlikely to take effect before the summer of 2017.

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