Many students are in danger of missing out on J1 visas this summer due to extended delays in processing them.
Over 150,000 young Irish people have benefitted from the US-Irish bilateral arrangement over the past 50 years.
But it was suspended during Covid, resulting in thousands of students across the country being denied the opportunity since 2019.
Now the post-Covid restoration of the work and study mobility between the two countries has led to a major backlog in the application process.
Mayo TD Alan Dillon has raised his concerns with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, over the J1 backlog affecting many young people across the country and the need for the matter to be addressed. Any aassistance the Irish Government can give to the US embassy should be prioritised to speed up this process.
Deputy Dillon said “Many students in Mayo who have contacted my office feel stranded and have yet to receive an embassy date or update. Accommodate and flights in some cases have already been booked. Students are frustrated and cannot contact the Embassy when trying to schedule an interview appointment with only limited visa appointment capacity, many of these students could face a summer without jobs.”
In response, the Minister Coveney said he is engaging with the US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin where additional staff are been hired to progress the backlog as the urgency is clear as many young people fear their J1 visas will not be approved ahead of the summer months.
Deputy Dillon welcomed the Minister’s response and looks forward to the matter being resolved swiftly.