The little-known E-3 visa program, created under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement of 2004, allocates 10,500 “specialty occupation” guest worker visas for Australian nationals and their spouses every year. These visas are good for two years and can be renewed indefinitely. Last week Sen. Charles Schumer introduced a bill that would grant 10,000 additional E-3 guest worker visas a year for Irish nationals. This would be an entirely new program, as currently 10,500 annual E-3 visas are available only to Australian nationals. The bill would also grant a waiver to Irish illegal aliens, allowing them to apply for the visa. Fortunately for the American people, this bill appears unlikely to move forward in the Senate.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Irish government announced today a partnership with the UK in order to crack down on illegal immigration. “The deal could create ‘considerable savings’ for both countries on removing foreign nationals with no right to stay, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said,” according to the Irish Independent. This initiative is part of a response by an Irish government that is under considerable public pressure to take steps to address a dysfunctional immigration system in the face of high unemployment and a massive budget crisis. Faced with similar circumstances in the United States, Sen. Schumer’s plan is to combine amnesty and an unnecessary guest worker program into one terrible piece of legislation.