By Colm Phelan
The US Graduate visa program is going to be available for Irish students for the coming year after speculation the program would stop this year.
This means that students graduating in 2017 will have the opportunity to travel and work in the United States for a period of one year.
USIT, one of the leading travel offices in Ireland for students, will begin offering the program to prospective graduates within the next fortnight.
“It should be opening in the next week or two,” said a representative for USIT.
“It was [a] pilot program which was set up until 2014 and then they extended it for two more years, so the end of this year. Then it was just under review for the past couple of months but it will be going ahead for next year.”
However rival company SAYIT, part of the company GoForLess, will not be offering the program next year and have advised candidates to look elsewhere.
A representative for SAYIT said: “I’m afraid we’re not offering that program as it’s closed at the moment. It’s been closed for just over a year now, we don’t have any time frame for when it will open again.”
There had been speculation that the program may be abandoned with the election of Donald Trump. Trump has been clear on his policies regarding immigrants and stricter border patrol, as well as visas to enter the USA.
In August of 2015 Trump declared that were he to be elected he was going to abolish the J1 Visa, which allows full-time third level students in Ireland to travel and work in the United States for a period of three months. This in turn led to fears that the graduate program would suffer the same fate.
“The J-1 visa for foreign youth will be terminated,” he said.
This pledge has recently been removed from the Republican’s campaign website.
The president elect had also announced in his campaign that he wanted to deport every immigrant living in the US without permission. This would affect thousands of Irish citizens, particularly in areas such as New York, Boston and Chicago.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), there are an estimated fifty thousand unauthorised Irish citizens living in the USA.
In the past Trump has also spoken on the topic of people born inside the USA to immigrant parents. He was of the opinion that they are not American citizens if they were born to illegal immigrants.
“I don’t think they have American citizenship, and if you speak to some very very good lawyers, and I know some would disagree but many of them agree with me, you’re going to find they do not have American citizenship.”