U.S. Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) have introduced the Irish Immigration Reform and Encouragement (IRE) Act of 2011, which adds the Republic of Ireland to the E-3 visa program, providing 10,500 employment visas that have no limit on the number of renewals allowed.
"The United States and Ireland have a close bond, and our people remain tightly knit through a long history of Irish immigration. Sadly, inefficiencies in our immigration program have resulted in increasingly poor prospects for Irish immigrants," said Senator Brown. "This legislation rectifies the decades-long plight by including the Irish in a special visa program that encourages their skilled workers to come to our shores. Legal immigration is the foundation of America, and we must continue to find ways to improve our visa and green card programs, especially when it comes to the treatment of our strongest allies and closest friends."
The Irish Immigration Reform and Encouragement (IRE) Act of 2011 does the following:
Recognizes the damage done to Irish immigration prospects in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and therefore adds the Republic of Ireland into the E-3 visa program.
The E-3 visa is an employment based program that is currently only available to Australia. It requires that applicants have a job offer for a specialty occupation in the US and have the necessary credentials for the job.
Visas are for two years and can be easily renewed. They also can be renewed an unlimited amount of times.
Makes an annual 10,500 employment visas available for the Irish.
Is a standalone bill that does not include controversial immigration provisions that could weaken national security and rule of law.
Recognizes the history between Ireland and the United States, and the importance of increased Irish immigration.