Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade Brendan Smith TD has expressed concern about changes to the J1-Visa Programme.
Deputy Smith stated, “The change to the rules requiring Irish students to have pre-arranged jobs will have a very significant impact on the number of Irish students able to participate in the programme. This development is disappointing and will invariably result in a notable drop in the number of students travelling to America. The programme has been a rite of passage for Irish students for close to 50 years, and unfortunately because of these new rules the opportunity for Irish students to work and live in the United States for the Summer period will be greatly diminished.
“Ireland has always had a strong bond with the United States, and so many of these ties were formed because of students participating in the J1 programme. It is imperative that our close links with America are maintained. I am therefore calling on the Minster for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan to engage with officials on this issue and to see if a better outcome can be achieved for Irish students. The JI Visa programme has offered so many opportunities to Irish students and I and the Fianna Fáil party are keen to ensure that those opportunities will continue to be available to Irish students in the years ahead”.