Durbin, Toomey Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Add Ireland To E-3 Non-Immigrant Visa Program

Mutually beneficial legislation affirms the special relationship between the United States and Ireland

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, today introduced bipartisan legislation to add Ireland to the E-3 non-immigrant visa program.  The bill would allow Irish nationals annual access to any unused E-3 visas from the previous fiscal year.  In exchange, Ireland intends to provide Americans expanded access to work visas in Ireland.

“The United States and Ireland have long championed the ideals of liberty and freedom, which has allowed our nations to form an unshakeable bond that nurtures these ideals,” Durbin said.  “I thank Senator Toomey for again partnering with me on this bipartisan bill, which is a vital reiteration of not only our commitment to these principles, but also to our invaluable friendship with Ireland and its citizens.  I remain committed to working to quickly pass this bipartisan legislation, as well as other critically-needed fixes to our broken immigration system.”

“The United States has long benefited from people coming here to work hard and contribute to our economy,” Toomey said.  “With this legislation, highly-skilled Irish workers can apply for the E-3 nonimmigrant visa program to continue this tradition. I appreciate Senator Durbin working with me on this bipartisan immigration bill, which will strengthen America’s relationship with Ireland.”


Durbin and Toomey introduced this bipartisan bill in the previous Congress.  An identical companion bill led by Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, passed the House of Representatives last Congress by voice vote. 


“The relationship between the United States and Ireland has always been strong,” Neal said.  “And this legislation for E-3 nonimmigrant visas will only make it stronger. As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, let us recognize and honor the achievements and contributions that Irish-Americans have made to our country. With this legislation we will continue to be the land of opportunity and extend a hand to those who want to share in the American dream.”


The E-3 treaty professional visa is a temporary work visa currently limited to citizens of Australia.  Up to 10,500 E-3 visas may be granted each year and the visas are valid for up to two years on a renewable basis.  Qualifying jobs in the U.S. for which an E-3 visa may be obtained require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a specialty occupation.


Full text of this legislation can be found here.