Number of students doing J1 visas has halved since 2015 1 month ago

Number of students doing J1 visas has halved since 2015

It's been a rite of passage for many.

The number of Irish students going to the USA on J1 visas has fallen by more than half in the three years between 2015 and 2018.

The temporary work visa had an uptake of more than 8,000 just four years ago, a number which has since fallen off a cliff.

Figures shared with the Irish government by US authorities reveal for the most popular category of work visa, the J1 Summer Work and Travel scheme, the numbers of Irish citizens availing were 4,347 in 2016, 4,190 on 2017 and 3,522 in 2018.

There are no figures available yet for 2019.

Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins has placed the blame on rule changes for the visa: "A number of changes were made to the J1 Visa Programme in recent years including the stipulation that all students must have an approved seasonal job before they can take part on the programme.

"This has more than likely contributed to the decline in the number of students participating in the programme."

Efforts to secure thousands of E3 work visas for Irish citizens have repeatedly stalled in the United States congress. There are currently 10,000 of the two-year work visas (which also allow the holder's spouse to live in the United States) earmarked for Australians - though the uptake is less than 50%.

Attempts have been made to allocate some of these visas to Irish people, though such a bill was blocked in 2018.