23 April 2009
Cap removed for Irish in US working holiday programme
The US working holiday programme with Ireland will no longer be capped at 20,000 American visas for Irish nationals.
In an announcement from the US Embassy, a spokeswoman said that the initial 20,000 American visa cap for the programme would be removed, so that more Irish could take part in the programme. Known as the J visa, conditions require holders to have graduated from college within 12 months of applying for the American visa and they must work their field of study while working on that American visa type.
According to the Irish Times, a spokesperson for the US Embassy said that while no publishable statistics were available to say how many people were interested in the programme, it is fair to say the interest is growing considerably.
"On the US side, we have not put any upper limit on the amount of people who can apply."
When the J-visa programme when live in September 2008, confusion was caused when companies began promoting it to be similar to the ever-popular Australian working holiday visa programme.
"Irish authorities promoted the new visa as being similar to the Australian 12-month working holiday model. It is not at all like the Australian visa," said Dearbhla O'Brien, commercial director of USIT in Dublin.
"This really confused people."
The Australian working holiday programme is highly popular for young Irish and British travellers, and allows an uncapped number of 18-30 year old Irish nationals to work and travel in Australia for up to twelve months – with the option of applying for a second working holiday visa if they work in regional Australia in specified occupations for three months or more during this time.
Further, the Australian working holiday allows visa holders to work for any employer for up to 6 months (while the J visa requires holders to have graduated from college within 12 months of applying for the visa and they must work their field of study while working on that visa type).
If an Australia working holiday is appealing to you, and you would like to find out if you are eligible for the programme, take the online assessment test through the Australian Visa Bureau website.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.